When it comes to prisons and prison security nothing in the world compares to ADX Supermax, Florence, Colorado. ADX houses America’s and some of the world’s most dangerous inmates. Once inside ADX there is no possible way of escape. The reason behind ADX was due to 2 incidents that happened in 1983 in Marion, Illinois. In two separate incidents inmates Thomas Silverstein and Clayton Fountain both stabbed to death Correction Officers Merle Clutts and Robert Hoffman. After the deaths of the Correction Officers the United States Department of Justice made a decision to build ADX which stands for Administrative Maximum Facility and was made at the cost of $60 million dollars.
ADX Supermax is not like any other prison,if an inmate is sentenced to life or death, once locked away that’s it. You are given a tiny cell with nothing more than a bed, desk and stool,( all made out of cement), shower, toilet and a small window that allows some natural light in and lets the prisoners somewhat able to look at the sky. Most inmates do have a small television in their room that plays religious or educational programs. The entire room is made out thick slabs of cement and the room only one door in or out the cell and is also secured by have 3 separate doors. There is a one solid then a door then another made out of bars, then one more solid door that guards can access. The inmates once in their cell have no communication with other inmates or the outside world. The only human contact they come in to is with the guards who only drop their food off, maybe the doctors or warden if needed. They are allowed to speak to their attorneys but that is monitored and still considered privileged and private between lawyer and client.
Any privilege that an inmate gets like calling family members, visitors and even receiving and writing letters are not up to the Warden or the guards of the prison its up the United States Department of Justice what the inmates are allowed to do. Inmates are lucky if they ever receive any letters and all mail is monitored and also read. Inmates are kept in solitary confinement the entire length of their sentence in ADX.They are locked in the cell 24 hours a day seven days a weeks, if they are lucky they get maybe 3-4 hours a week alone outside in another cage. Many prisons end up with mental illness and their psychological well being from their time alone with no real human contact starts to deteriorate. Keeping an inmate in isolation indefinitely breaches international standards for humane treatment. Amnesty International have made several attempts to have conditions inside the prison improved for inmates to no avail in a report published by 2015 Amnesty International,” REPORT Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System.” No one is questioning that there needs to be safety measures with the criminals its about the conditions and treatment of the inmates that is a concern.
Along all the hallways ADX Supermax is lined on the inside with thousands of cameras everywhere throughout the facilities every few feet. The inmates are escorted by multiple Correction Officers when walking anywhere in the prison. The prisoners are kept in shackles and chains from their hands, waist and feet, making movement more difficult for the inmates. They are under lock and key at all times. When prisoners are allowed visitors they remain in shackles and behind unbreakable glass and have to use a phone so that guards may listen in on what’s being said between both parties. Inmates are very lucky if they are allowed any visitors at all.
ADX has about 450 beds and the inmates are housed in different areas or wings of the prison based on the types of crimes they have committed. American terrorists, Islamic terrorists, spies, mafia hit men, aryrian nation members and prisoners that are deemed too dangerous for other maximum security prisons have their own areas that they are kept in. The inmates in each wing do not stay in their own cells either, at least once a week the inmates have to switch rooms in their wings, It is so that they do not ever feel comfortable and have a feeling that it’s their room and also prevents inmates long term to try any attempt of escape.
When it comes to any types of escape there really isn’t any, except for death. ADX sits on 600 acres of land that surround the facility high on top of a mountain with beautiful views surrounding it. All around ADX are fences filled row after row of razors including all over the top of the recreations areas, so prisoners can’t get out by any means or anyone could get in. Guard towers line ADX and with high assault weapons and have no fear of shooting anyone. Black hawk helicopters patrol over the prison all hours of the day and night, checking on the grounds at all times. The prison itself is estimated to be 37-acres big.
Since ADX has opened in 1994, 7 prisoners have committed suicide in their cells. One inmate also mutilated himself in his cell, eating parts of his own body from losing his mind from being in consistent isolation. Under the Eighth Amendment, “no person should receive any cruel and unusual punishment. ” A lawsuit was filed on behalf of some of the inmates in 2012 by Arnold & Porter and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, reported by ANDREW COHEN, “ Supermax: The Faces of a Prison’s Mentally Ill,” The Atlantic, JUN 19, 2012.
Also in February 2014 The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on solitary confinement. Chairman Dick Durbin stated The fact that “the United States holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other Democratic nation” is a “human rights issue that we cannot ignore,” the Illinois Democrat said. He quoted Anthony Graves, a Texas death row exoneree who testified at the first Senate hearing on solitary 2012: “‘No one can begin to imagine the psychological effects isolation has on another human being. Solitary confinement does one thing: It breaks a man’s will to live.’” In his seven years as chair of the subcommittee, Durbin declared, “I cannot remember more compelling testimony.” Durbin also continued to state “Make no mistake…Some dangerous inmates must be held in segregated confinement,” written by Jean Casella, Way Down in the Hole: Senate Hearing Challenges Solitary Confinement for Some, But Not All, March 5, 2014.
“This place is not designed for humanity,” Robert Hood, the warden from 2002 to 2005, told the Times. He also described the facility as a “cleaner version of hell” to “60 Minutes” back in 2007, CHRISTINA STERBENZ, Business Insider, Mar. 31, 2015. The thought of being sentenced to ADX Supermax, Florence, Colorado is mind boggling just as mind boggling as the crimes and behaviors that got the inmates in there in the first place. There is no doubt that these inmates should punished. When we think of the actual crimes these individuals were accused of and sentence for they never once thought of anybody elses well being nor did they care when they committed these crimes.The question is why should we care? It would be very easy not to care but if we do not show some humanity ourselves in some ways we are no better. Considering the system at ADX is the most secure prison in the United States having some contact with the outside world wouldn’t hurt as in receiving and sending letters and being allowed to have visitors a few times a year instead of a visit every few years.
The list of some of the inmates incarcerated at ADX include:
Gary Leon Ridgway – The Green River Killer
Ramzi Youself – Mastermind of 1993 WTC bombing
Theodore John Kaczynski – The Unabomber
Salvatore Gravano – Sammy “The Bull” Gravano
Zacarias Moussaoui – Terrorist- Would-be al Qaeda hijacker
Matthew F. Hale – White supremacist
John Phillip Walker Lindh – The American Taliban
Robert Philip Hanssen – Russian mole inside the FBI
Larry Hoover – Gangster Disciples
Richard Colvin Reid – Shoe bomber
Terry Lynn Nichols – Oklahoma City Bombing
Eric Robert Rudolph – White supremacist, Olympic Park Bomber
Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel-Rahman – The Blind Sheikh
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – Boston Marathon bomber