Who Will Guard Supermax?

July 21 2009, 10:56 AM

Ron Wiley, the warden of the federal Supermax prison in Florence, will retire in October, leaving the job of guarding the likes of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols---and perhaps even Guantanamo Bay detainees---to someone else. That's according to The Associated Press, which obtained a copy of an e-mail Wiley sent to staffers at the prison, located about 90 miles south of Denver, saying he wants to spend time with his family and pursue teaching opportunities. The prison is a magnet for controversy, including a recent one in which an inmate was prevented from obtaining bestsellers penned by President Barack Obama because they were "potentially detrimental to national security" (via Britain's Guardian).

In 2007, actor Woody Harrelson's father, serving time for killing a federal judge, died of a heart attack at Supermax, but nobody immediately noticed. Last month, Briton Richard Reid, the would-be "shoe bomber," began a hunger strike in protest of the prison ignoring the dietary requirements of his religion. This week, Time presents the case that Moussaoui, the only person convicted in connection with the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, should receive another trial, writing that Moussaoui's "courtroom antics and declarations were outrageous but the prosecution of his trial was a farce nonetheless."