Jose Padilla Sent to Supermax

Jose Padilla has been shipped to Supermax in Florence, Colorado, known as Alcatraz of the Rockies. He'll be joining Ted Kaczinski, Eric Rudolph, Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard "shoe bomber" Reid, OKC conspirator Terry Nichols and others. Padilla was convicted in August and sentenced to 17 years. He's got 13 years left.

Padilla attorney Michael Caruso said in an e-mail Friday that Supermax is "a living hell" where inmates spend most days in 7-foot-by-12-foot cells and have little contact with the outside world. Caruso noted that others convicted of supporting terrorism, such as the "Lackawanna Six" group in upstate New York, were not sent to the nation's toughest prison.

Caruso called the decision "yet another example of Jose being treated differently and in a more punitive fashion than others who have been accused of similar crimes. I genuinely fear that Jose's mental health will erode to an even greater degree."

More on the life awaiting Padilla at Supermax below:

From an earlier post on Moussaoui:

He will spend his days alone in a 8 by 10 or 7 × 12 foot cell, in 23 hour a day isolation. His meals will be delivered through a slot in his cell door. The shower will be brought to his cell. His one hour a day of exercise will be with a guard, not other inmates. He will have no contact with other inmates.

In time, if he's good, he may work his way up from a windowless cell to one in another unit with a small window where he can see the sky and clouds and may be able to see other prisoners (who can't see him due to a one-way mirror finish on the internal window.) He may be able to get his lights turned off at night.

All in all, this will be a dismal, dehumanizing, psychologically debilitating existence for him. The prospect of winning his appeal will keep him going. Should he lose all of his appeals, he will have nothing to look to forward to but decades of confinement under these conditions.

What a wretched way to spend one's life.

Here's a website devoted to Supermax.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Supermax Sounds Inhumane At Best n/t (none / 0) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 06:55:06 PM EST

    SuperMax conditions are inhumane--I've been (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by jawbone on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 07:08:40 PM EST
    waiting for a case to be brought to the some international court--perhaps by the home nation of some foreigner imprisoned in one.

    They basically could prove nothing on the heavy duty charges they wanted to use against Padilla, and what they did use warrants this kind of imprisonment?

    Or is it to make sure he never gets to talk to someone who might then tell his story?

    We can be an extremely cruel nation.


    I was under the impression (none / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 07:39:55 PM EST
    that SuperMax is for inmates who are truly threats, far too dangerous to put in the general population.

    Padilla?  A threat?  I don't see it.  


    If they build them, they must fill them (none / 0) (#7)
    by jawbone on Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 05:07:12 PM EST
    Supermax's were sold to the public as places for the worst of the very awfulest worst offenders.

    When the WI supermax was built, there were stories after awhile about the mental deterioration of people kept from human contact except for being escorted to a small exercise area--what? --one hour a week?

    Anyway, the mental problems were similar to what happens under torture or being held hostage.


    And what would bringing a case (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 10:52:50 PM EST
    to an international court accomplish??

    Might do what we used to try to do: Improve (none / 0) (#8)
    by jawbone on Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 05:09:22 PM EST
    conditions for prisoners held under intolerable and inhumane conditions.

    We used to try to persuade totalitarians rulers to improve their treatment of their people, including their prisoners.  Not so much anymore.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 21, 2008 at 09:51:54 AM EST
    Not so much anymore.

    I would guess it has been a huge waste of time.


    Sounds kind of like my law school life... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 06:55:57 PM EST
    except I have internet access.

    No, seriously, thanks for bringing this up.  Wow.

    Supermax (none / 0) (#6)
    by wasabi on Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 10:14:36 AM EST
    What is the purpose of a supermax?  To isolate truly dangerous criminals from the greater prison population or to isolate prisoners from retribution of other prisoners?  From the list of prisoners in your first paragraph, I would think the latter.  Isn't there a better way to do this than 23 hour isolation?

    Supermax also keeps Padilla away from (none / 0) (#9)
    by jawbone on Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 05:11:36 PM EST
    repoters and citizen investigators.

    He can't tell his story--and since he's already been diagnosed as suffering from essentially PTSD, this will probably have the effect of making it worse.

    Way to go, great bringer of freedom to the world!


    It was ruled that his mental condition (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 21, 2008 at 09:55:03 AM EST
    allowed him to assist in his own defense and to receive a fair trial.

    As for PTSD I would guess that anyone who is arrested and held is stressed out.


    Try "punishment." (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 21, 2008 at 09:55:46 AM EST