A hundred miles southwest of Denver, the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADX) houses a killer lineup of mobsters (Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano), gang leaders (Barry “The Baron” Mills), assassins (Colombian hit man Dandenis “La Quica” Muñoz Mosquera), and terrorists (John “American Taliban” Walker Lindh). But not to worry, says Westword in Denver: Despite some embarrassing security breaches and two inmate homicides in the past two years, ADX has never had anything close to a breakout. It’s probably the most escape-proof prison in the world.
For almost six years, it’s also been media-proof. Prisoners are locked away out of sight and mind and reporters can’t get in to see them, no matter how hard they try. Officials have denied every single media request for a face-to-face interview with supermax prisoners at least since 2002. It doesn’t matter if the request comes from a major news organization or a humble local TV station; it doesn’t matter if the prisoner is a high-profile resident or an obscure career criminal. Contrary to U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy, officials turn down every journalist, citing boilerplate “security concerns” if no handier excuse is available. Warden Ron Wiley said the bureau “makes every effort” to accommodate media requests, but told Westword “granting your request at this time may disrupt the good order and security of this institution.” A spokesman acknowledged that the cited security concerns applied to any interview with any prisoner.