ADX: Where Inmates In Solitary May Bang On Doors For Hours

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The New York Times profiles the highest-security federal prison: the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Co., known as the ADX. It was designed as scape-proof, the Alcatraz of the Rockies, a place to incarcerate the worst, most unredeemable class of criminal — “a very small subset of the inmate population who show,” said former federal prison director Norman Carlson, “absolutely no concern for human life.” Among its residents: Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Along with such notorious inmates, prisoners deemed serious behavioral or flight risks can also end up at the ADX , like Rodney Jones, who in 2003, after three assault charges in less than a year (all fights with other inmates) at a medium-security facility in Louisiana, found himself transferred to the same ADX cellblock as Kaczynski. ADX inmates spend 23 hours of each day in solitary confinement. Jones had never been so isolated before. Other prisoners on his cellblock screamed and banged on their doors for hours. Jones said the staff psychiatrist stopped his prescription for Seroquel, a drug taken for bipolar disorder, telling him, “We don't give out feel-good drugs here.”

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