It is considered one of the safest prisons in the United States, where the country’s most notorious criminals are kept.
The jail was designed to house the most dangerous prisoners in the country. El Chapo was met with Ted Kaczynski, a local terrorist from the United States called Onabomber, Terry Nichols, responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma bombings, and Zukhar Tsarnaev, a Boston Marathon bomber in 2013.
ADX Florence has the capacity to house 490 male prisoners and is part of the Florence Federal Penitentiary Complex, with two more prisons.
All 376 inmates in prison, many of them serving life imprisonment, spend 23 hours a day locked up in their individual cells, which have very little contact with humans.
“While all prisons are deplorable, this prison is particularly humane,” says Duncan Levin, a criminal defense lawyer and former US federal prosecutor. It’s one of the most isolated places in the world. There is no external symbol of life here. ‘
Levin told BBC News Brazil that the prisoners are simply guards or have little contact with each other to minimize their chances of harming anyone.
“It’s the safest prison in the world,” he says. What made it special was to keep the world’s most dangerous prisoners. ‘
Each concrete cell covers seven square meters with a bed, a table and a bench. In addition there is a toilet, sink and shower made of stainless steel.
The walls of the cells are made of thick and concrete while their doors are made of solid steel. Food and medicines are provided in a small open space at these gates. All interaction with guards, psychologists and other staff takes place inside the cell.
All the cells are built on the same side of the road, so even when the door opens, the prisoners are not able to see each other. Prisoners only get natural light from a vertical window about 10 cm wide, allowing them to see a small part of the sky and simply.
Some sales have a radio or TV that shows the administration’s chosen educational and religious programs or movies.
‘Prison made to beat minds’
Prisoners are allowed to leave their cells only at appointments and at recreation and exercise, or only during treatment that cannot be inside a cell.
During the meeting, there is a thick glass between the prisoners and the prisoners and they talk by telephone. Prisoners do not have access to email and can only make three phone calls in 15 minutes a month.
Exercise time is only an hour or two a day and that too on working days.
Some prisoners are taken alone in a gymnasium with no windows inside the prison. Some carry at least three guards into an outdoor area made of concrete walls and ceilings with iron bars. In addition, they are kept in an individual cage, which would be better to call a fort than a cage.
A total of five inmates, everyone locked in their cage, can be out at one time. But they are allowed to see and talk to each other.
Those considered too dangerous, they are taken to a separate place for exercise where they are completely isolated.
Deborah Golden, a lawyer with the Human Rights Defense Center, who has visited ADX Florence several times, says the difference between her and other hard-to-find security prisons here is that inmates are always being held by other people. Is completely left in the isolated cell.
He told BBC News Brazil that “a common security prison has strict supervision, but people can get out of their cell, walk and participate in activities.” But Supermax is quite different from these prisons. There is very little interaction with humans here. ‘
Paul Wright, executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, agrees.
Speaking to BBC News Brazil, he said, “Everything in ADX Florence, whether it is a building, its sales design or anything else, is aimed at less than interacting with humans. Have to keep low. Basically it is meant to destroy people mentally.
The home of the most dangerous prisoners
But these situations are only for America’s most dangerous prisoners.
Former mathematics professor Ted Kaczynski, who killed three people and injured more than 20 in a series of blasts between 1978 and 1995, has been serving three life sentences in succession.
Terry Nichols is serving 161 life sentences given as a result of a truck bombing that killed 168 people in Oklahoma in 1995.
There is also former FBI agent Robert Hansen, who has been spying for the Soviet Union and Russia from 1979 to 2001, serving a 15-year life sentence.
Zukhar Tsarnaev is responsible for the blasts in the Boston Marathon and is awaiting the execution of his death sentence.
Other famous Supremac prisoners include Al-Qaeda member Zacharias Mousavi, who helped plan the September 11 attacks, Ramzi Yusuf, responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Atlanta Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympic Games. Including Eric Rudolph responsible for several bombings.
In addition, one of the detainees in ADX Florence is Richard Shaw, a ‘show bomber’ who tried to destroy an American Airlines plane in 2001 with a bomb hidden in his shoes, while in 2009 Also included is Omar Farooq Abdul Muttalib, who tried to blow up a ship with a bomb hidden in his underwear.
Abu Hamza al-Masri, a former imam of London’s Finsbury Park mosque, is also imprisoned. Britain’s best-known fundamentalist religious leader was relocated to the United States where he is serving a life sentence for terrorism charges.
They have complained about jail conditions. His lawyers say they are ready to go to the UK without ‘knowing’.
‘The most frustrating place in the world’
But according to a report by the District of Columbia Corrections Information Council (CIC), which monitors prisons and correctional centers, most prisoners of ADX Florence are not sent to the jail immediately after being sentenced.
It reported that 90% were transported there due to disciplinary violations, such as an escape attempt, an attack on guards or other prisoners. Many of these prisoners suffer from mental illness, and critics say isolation aggravates these problems.
“After two weeks of isolation, human brain changes and makes it difficult to connect with other people,” says Deborah Golden of the Human Rights Defense Center.
But Duncan Levin says that ‘everyone in the supermax is kept in solitary confinement.’
He says it’s a “disappointing place in the world you would never want to visit, not even an appointment.”