We already have a “defacto” Guantanamo In IL

Posted: June 24, 2010 by tennesseetree in IDOC, Terrible Wrongs - Other Cases, The Causes of Wrongful Convictions

On June 22, 2010, the Washington AP reported that the sale of the IDOC  Thomson prison to the federal government is still on track to be concluded this year. Still unknown is whether it will ever by used to house Guantanamo Bay detainees, as originally planned, or whether it will be used for regular federal prisoners. If congressional approval and funding is provided, Thomson would be converted into a high-security, super-max federal prison to house the Guantanamo Bay detainees. But, since approval and funding do not appear likely at this point, the detainees will go elsewhere and Thomson will be converted into a standard federal prison (Read Sauk Valley News article here.

Not to worry. It looks like Illinois already has a “defacto” Guantanamo prison in operation. The Marion Federal Prison in southern IL is a restrictive federal prison which houses one of two federal “communication management units” or “CMU’s”. On June 4, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center on Constitutional Rights announced that these CMU’s …”place draconian restrictions on inmates contact with the outside world and even their own families, without offering any reason” (Read the Southern.com article here). The CMU’s were built to house terrorists. Both groups point out that 60 – 70% of the inmate population at these CMU’s is muslim.

The federal government operated the other CMU in Terre Haute, IN, since 2006, allegedly without following federal rule-making procedures till the ACLU sued it. The federal prison bureau responded in April 2010 by announcing a new rule for operation of the CMU’s which the groups criticize as being even more restrictive to inmates in some respects…”CMU inmates would be allowed only one 15-minute phone call and one hourlong visit per month, only with immediate family members. Inmates would be forbidden to touch visitors, including their own children.”

There is more litigation pending against the federal government and CMU’s filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights in April 2010, and alleging further constitutional rights violations. That litigation hasn’t been responded to yet by the feds but one concern voiced is that persons convicted of crimes other than terrorism are also currently held at these CMU’s and “have no way to earn their way out”.

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