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December 16, 2009

Planned prisoner transfer getting lots of attention...

because it involves moving the terror suspects from Gitmo to Illinois.  How Appealing collected links to much of the major news coverage in this post yesterday, and today a lot of the buzz is about political debates (and posturing) surrounding the decision.  This item from the New York Times, which is headlined "From Guantánamo to Beyond ‘Supermax’," provides a prison perspective on this matter. Here are excerpts:

On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn received a letter informing him that President Obama plans to transfer terrorism suspects currently held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to a little-used prison in a rural part of his home state....

The letter informed Governor Quinn that, as my colleague Charlie Savage reported on Monday, President Obama has directed the federal government to proceed with acquiring the Thomson Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison in a rural village about 150 miles west of Chicago.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the letter — which was given added weight by the signatures of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair — is the promise that the federal government will renovate the maximum security prison so that “after acquisition it will be enhanced to exceed perimeter security standards at the nation’s only ’supermax’ prison in Florence, Colorado, where there has never been an escape or external attack.”

The federal “supermax” facility in Colorado is home to prominent Islamic militants convicted of terrorist offenses, including Ramzi Yousef, who carried out the World Trade Center bomber in 1993, and Richard Reid, the “shoe-bomber,” who failed to ignite a bomb concealed in his sneakers on a flight from Paris to Miami in 2001.

December 16, 2009 at 09:16 AM | Permalink

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