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Old 09-26-2014, 10:55 AM
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Default ADX Thomson - New Federal Supermax Prison

While this article about the coming ADX Thomson is over a year old now, it was new news to me... I came across it while reading up on how Lewisburg is supposedly housing the "worst of the worst", which made me think, "What about ADX Florence??" and start searching.

Lewisburg article quote:
Quote:
Since January 2009, “the worst of the worst,” so called by Lewisburg prison’s chief union steward, Craig Wheeland, have been housed at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. The prison is now home to those inmates who were dubbed the most disruptive and difficult to control at other federal prisons around the country. These inmates pose such grave and serious danger to themselves and others that they now spend twenty-three hours a day locked up in a tiny prison cell. According to Scott Finley, executive assistant at Lewisburg Penitentiary, “the plan is to expand the special management unit, which currently houses six percent of the penitentiary’s 1,500 inmates, to encompass the entire institution.” The Lewisburg Penitentiary has received a great deal of national attention with regards to its security boost. It will serve as an experimental model for the nation’s other 113 federal prisons, which may someday be faced with the same security upgrade that Lewisburg is currently undergoing.
Full Article here

During that search I came across this:

Obama’s 2014 Budget Confirms Plans for “ADX Thomson,” New Federal Supermax Prison

Quote:
The Obama Administration’s 2014 budget request for the Department of Justice, released this week, confirms that the federal government will open a second ultra-secure supermax prison within the next two years. The new prison will be an “Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary.” Administrative Maximum is a security classification currently held only by the notorious ADX Florence in Colorado, where some 400 individuals are held in isolation and sensory deprivation so extreme that it has been challenged in a series of lawsuits and widely denounced as torture.

The new supermax will be created by renovating Thomson Correctional Center, an unused maximum security prison in Illinois, which was purchased by the federal government last year. Originally, the Obama Administration envisioned Thomson as a future home for Guantanamo detainees–a move that was blocked by Republicans in Congress. Instead, while Guantanamo remains open, the Bureau of Prisons is moving ahead with plans to open hundreds, and perhaps thousands of new isolation cells at Thomson to “reduce crowding in high security facilities.”
Click here to read full article

I'm actually surprised it has taken the feds this long to build another ADX...

I think if I had a choice between life in an ADX or death, I'd do what McVeigh did. The ADX really is a form of torture, IMO..
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:09 AM
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Here's an interesting article on Mother Jones about the Federal Bureau of Prison's hypocrisy with regard to reducing solitary confinement practices while at the same time opening up a new Administrative Maximum (ADX) prison - ADX Thomson.

And speaking of hypocrites.. I applaud Dick Durban for his congressional hearing on solitary confinement and pushing for reform BUT how does one push for reform while working to sell Thomson to the feds for the specific use of solitary confinement!?! Jeezus.. Politicians..

/rant

Welcome to the New Federal Supermax
The recently acquired "Gitmo North" doesn't jibe with the government's stated goal of reducing solitary confinement.

—By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella | Mon Feb. 11, 2013 7:02 AM EST
Quote:
Even as it announces a review and reduction of its solitary confinement practices, the US Bureau of Prisons has confirmed that a newly acquired prison in Illinois will hold federal prisoners in supermax conditions. "Thomson will be a high security prison holding inmates with various security needs, including SMU and ADX type inmates," BOP spokesperson Chris Burke said via email.

Thomson is the unused prison that the federal government recently bought from the state of Illinois. ADX, the notorious federal supermax in Florence, Colorado, holds its prisoners in 23-hour-a-day isolation with virtually no human contact. Federal SMUs, or Special Management Units, such as those found in Lewisburg Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, hold their prisoners in near round-the-clock lockdown in two-person cells. Both are forms of long-term isolation, and both have been denounced by human rights and prisoners rights groups as an inhumane and ineffective form of punishment, sometimes amounting to torture.
Click here for the full article
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:13 AM
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One more before my mind drifts to other prison topics...

Funding Approved for Activation of ADX/USP Thomson, New Federal Supermax Prison
March 14, 2014 by Lisa Dawson
Quote:
Yesterday, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and local Congress member Cheri Bustos announced that the BOP has committed $53.7 million in funding for fiscal year 2014 to retrofit and open Thomson. Of that funding, $10 million will be used for renovation, and $43.7 million will be used for equipment and staffing. “This is the news we’ve been waiting for,” Durbin said in a press release. “It’s a sure sign that work will begin soon in Thomson and confirms, without a doubt, that the Obama Administration remains firmly committed to opening and operating Thomson prison.”
Thomson, the unoccupied prison that the federal government bought from the state of Illinois in 2012, was built between 1999 and 2001 but never opened. Dubbed early on “Gitmo North,” the facility was originally viewed by the Obama Administration as a possible future home for scores of terrorism suspects held by the U.S. at Guantánamo Bay military detention camp in Cuba. The press release put out yesterday by Durbin and Bustos called Thomson a “state-of-the-art, maximum-security prison,” but made no mention that it was slated to become, at least in part, a supermax.
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Old 09-26-2014, 12:42 PM
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Oh great just what America needs, another huge torture chamber...
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Old 09-26-2014, 01:15 PM
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I too would easily opt for death rather than life in a USP or higher.

AND they do NOT get out of their cells an hour a day; it's more like 2-3 times a week and each time involves a strip search and full chains coming and going.

I must add though I met women that were so bad, so violent, so mentally off I feared being around them and wished they'd been some how isolated from the rest of us.

I am NOT saying ADX is the way to go, but unless you've been around some of these inmates you can't grasp how little they care about who lives or dies.
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:28 PM
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The way the bop reports a decrease in their use of solitary confinement is to ignore all of the prisoners being held in 23 hour lockup at the ever growing number of "Special Management Unit" prisons like Lewisburg.

I hadn't heard about the new supermax prison either, but maybe the bop will claim the unfortunate prisoners will be living in one bedroom condominiums rather than in solitary confinement. Bureaucrats are experts at putting lipstick on the pig.
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:33 PM
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Surely the women who were so 'mentally off' should be in a mental health facility receiving help...
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:08 AM
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Mental health help in federal prisons isn't exactly cutting edge.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:46 PM
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They've assigned a warden and are busy hiring staff. Ugggh!!

Oh - and at the current Supermax in Colorado, the warden now says that the prisoners there can no longer receive free books from the bookstores that have been sending them there for years. These inmates can't work to earn any money to buy books. It's ridiculous - just designed to create extreme mental health issues.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redgrl View Post
Surely the women who were so 'mentally off' should be in a mental health facility receiving help...
Yes, they should be, but the US's idea of mental health facilities are obviously prisons at this point in time..

When I first went to prison I was surprised by the number of guys in there with serious and quite obvious mental conditions.. One kid was there for stealing mail on multiple occasions and blowing up a mailbox because he believed the devil was trying to talk to him via the US Postal system.. He was a nice guy but clearly disturbed.. They put him in a federal camp originally and he ran (duh!) so his next stop was at the medium security prison in Beaumont ,where I was vacationing.. A place he clearly should never have been. He wasn't alone either.

The abuses in the old "lunatic asylums" were often horrific but after they were done away with, there should have been something better put in place..
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:20 PM
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David summed it up well and to make it even sadder there WERE women within the prison in a locked down mental ward. There are so, so many that were totally off the wall only the most dramatically sick got any "care". And the word care is issued lightly. Very, very few people come out more mentally balanced than they went in.

I doubt the public know or cares about how mentally ill inmates the Feds house.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:54 AM
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Supermax prisons are torture, clear and simple. The bop is great at tightening the screws on inmates. The assistant warden in charge of USP Atlanta's holdover gulag told me it was too expensive for them to place donated books on a book cart. BS.

The most outrageous example of abusing mentally ill prisoners I observed (of many) was the poor guy with advanced dementia who couldn't locate his correct housing unit, ever. It was completely left up to the other inmates to lead him home.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:02 AM
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I have a question: Do the majority of American voters want these kinds of prisons with the terrible abuse that goes with them?
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:12 AM
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I don't have scientific facts, but my many years of being in prison and being a felon has taught me that most Americans think if you're in prison everything is too good for you. That's why I sigh every time I read here when somebody suggests contacting the media about something bad going on in jails or prisons.

You really think the public cares?

Add to that I met many women in a high security federal prison that liked being there; they claimed they'd never had it so good. They got food, a bed, some medical care. Who could ask for more?
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redgrl View Post
I have a question: Do the majority of American voters want these kinds of prisons with the terrible abuse that goes with them?
Sadly, I believe so.. Of course, the vast majority of them have not been locked up in solitary confinement, with no idea when they might get out - if ever..

I've done time in a lot of different ways, I'm sad to say.. The hardest time I ever did was in a county jail holding type cell (all steel - only a viewing window on the door for checks) where I was locked almost 24/7, with hardly anything to read, no-bond and no idea how long I was going to be there.. At that time I was looking at upwards of 30 years if the judge had wanted to throw the book at me. (I was on felony probation and had finally been caught by the fugitive task force after being on the run for over a year so they weren't too pleased with me) However, I did know that whatever my new sentence would be, I wouldn't be locked in the box after that ruling came down.. Despite my extreme dislike for the temporary sensory deprivation, it didn't come close to the indefinite - often life long - amount of time those in the ADX deal with.

Federal time can be cake or it can be the hardest time of all.. You don't hear as many reports of federal correction officers physically assaulting inmates as you do some state prison guards.. But, while the BOP CO's don't break as many bones, the BOP certainly specializes in breaking the minds of those the system deems the worst of the worst..

One of my friends inside ("Big Steve") who I met at FCI Beumont - Med. had already been down for over 20 years.. One day I made a comment about it not being so bad once I got acclimated to things... He told me, "You are right.. But, it can turn on a dime if you get out of line and these smiling federal guards will become your nightmare". He went on to tell me about how he ended up at USP Marion (When it was the fed's "Super Max", before the ADX was built) because he had intimidated a CO during a big gang melee.. He didn't physically assault the CO but considering Steve was 6' 8' and about 300 lbs of muscle and sleeved out tats, stepping in front of a CO to block him was a bad idea, he admitted to me.

They put him on the Diesel Therapy diet to start with.. He was put on buses and transferred all across the county for almost a full year - a nightmare in its own right - before he finally landed in USP Marion for a couple of years.. He said, "I used to be a real hard asses son-of-a-bitch, but they broke me man.. A year hitting what felt like every county jail in the country followed by the hole in Marion.. I'm not the same..."

It was a pretty shocking admission to me and the first time I had heard the term "diesel therapy" and what life was like at a super max prison. He was also the first person to tell me about the ADX, as he had run into a guy or two who had once been there. Steve told me something along the lines of no matter how bad he had it, the ADX in Florence was even worse, and had it been open and he sent there, he didn't know if he would have made it back out.
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:08 PM
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I'm friends with two guys that did ADX time; one 13 years and one 8. They came out 1/2 OK, but they went in 75% OK and that's often not the case in ADX.

The stories they tell me of listening to guys around them devolving is beyond what I can share here; it's just too hard and unbelievable.
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