Supermax Avoids Guantanamo Detainees---So Far

December 15 2009, 10:02 AM

President Barack Obama's controversial plan to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. mainland is moving forward---so far without mention of the Supermax facility in Florence. Instead, Obama has directed the federal government to buy an almost-empty state prison in rural Thomson, Illinois, to house federal prisoners and as many as 90 Guantanamo detainees (via The Los Angeles Times). More details about the Thomson Correctional Center's role in the planned closure of the Guantanamo center are expected in an official announcement today. Other inmates could be returned to their home countries or even third countries that operate rehabilitation programs for terrorist suspects. Meanwhile, citing the example of convicted attempted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who is housed at Supermax, critics are concerned about what might happen if dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees come to U.S. soil. U.S. prisons tend to loosen inmate restrictions over time, posing risks if applied to Guantanamo detainees once branded "enemy combatants" (via Reuters). "The system will default toward allowing more visitation, access, and communication," says Stewart Baker, who served as general counsel at the National Security Agency under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Chalk up a victory for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and 10 high-ranking military officers. The Supreme Court announced it will not hear an appeal by four former Guantanamo Bay detainees who allege they were tortured and were attempting to sue (via Fox News).