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In: Other Topics

Submitted By wolverines55
Words 896
Pages 4
John Peoples
Steve Sosnoski
ENG 102
September 19, 2015
The topic that I chose to research is The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility. It is unofficially known as ADX Florence, Florence ADMAX, Supermax, or the Alcatraz of the Rockies. My goal of this research is to dive in and learn more about ADX, known as “one of the most secure prisons in the world”. My research will cover everything on ADX from when construction started, until today. What makes this a worthy topic of research is it is one of a kind. ADX is the only Supermax facility in the United States and houses the worst of the worst. The United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility, or ADX, was first constructed as a response to several serious security breaches in other prisons. One of these occurred in a high security facility named The United States Penitentiary in Marion Illinois. On October 22, 1983, two correctional officers were stabbed to death in separate incidents. What allowed this to occur was the procedure that security had, were almost in a relaxed fashion. Following the killings, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Norman Carlson, argued that a more secure prison needed to be designed. A prison where uncontrollable inmates could be isolated from officers and other prisoners. Carlson said that building such a prison was the only way to handle inmates who “show absolutely no concern for human life”. Enter the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”, the ADX Florence. ADX is the place America sends the prisoners it wants to punish the most. Robert Hood, the former warden of ADX, has described it as a clean version of hell.
ADX opened its doors in November of 1994. Residents of Fremont County in Colorado, welcomed it as a source for employment. ADX has a population of around 410 male inmates, each assigned to one of the six security levels. It is best known for housing inmates who have been deemed too dangerous, or too great of a security risk for maximum security prisons. These include leaders of violent gangs like Larry Hoover of the Gangster Disciples, Barry Mills and Tyler Bingham of the Aryan Brotherhood. ADX also holds terrorists like Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted in court of the September 11 attacks; as well as Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph. Timothy McVeigh was housed here before his execution in 1997. Terry Nichols, McVeigh’s co-conspirator, is currently serving at ADX. Nichols was sentenced to 161 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, which set a Guinness World Record, for the Oklahoma bombing that killed 168 people, 19 were children. Inmates are sent to ADX because of their extensive history of committing violent crimes against corrections officers and fellow inmates. ADX’s solution to this? Inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for at least the first year. Depending on the inmate’s conduct, good behavior means longer periods of being out. The goal is to keep inmates for only three years, depending on their behavior, then transfer them to a less restrictive prison. The San Francisco Chronicle said “ADX Florence’s main purpose is to try and extract reasonably peaceful behavior from extremely violent career prisoners”. It seems like a tough pill to swallow when faced with terrorists like Nichols, Kaczynski and Rudolph. The cells are 7ft by 12ft, with a beautiful view of only the sky through a 4 inch window. The windows were designed to keep inmates from knowing their specific location inside, making it impossible to plan an escape. Each cell comes with a desk, stool, and a bed, made almost entirely out of poured concrete. The steps taken, to keep ADX at the top of the list for most secure prisons, is incredibly amazing. Phone calls with the outside world is forbidden, while food is delivered by correction officers. The prisons “defenses” include: a multitude of motion detectors and cameras, 1,400 remote controlled steels doors, pressure pads and 12 feet of razor wire fence surrounding the perimeter. Before 2007, the public was restricted from ever entering ADX, mainly for security reasons. The Federal Bureau of Prisons held a “media day” on September 14, 2007. Although they were allowed to walk within the prison, cameras were STRICTLY prohibited. Some of the attending reporters had said that the prison was astonishingly quiet as well as a sense of safety, due to the rigorous security measures in place. The only issue that I see with ADX is the steps taken to administer corrective actions. These steps can seem quite harsh, but can also be seen as completely justified. Consider all your liberties and freedom irrelevant. Information about this can be found just about everywhere. Specifically, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has provided information about ADX. The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers detailed reports about population, corrections, incidents and effectiveness. Being a prison that holds the “worst of the worst”, having such security precautions in place is a necessity. This place is the true definition of a correctional facility. It is currently the only “Supermax” prison in the United States and is also labeled as the worst place to be. ADX Florence should be the image people think of when told “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”. As said before, it is certainly a cleaner version of hell.

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