For years, liberals have called for prisoners at Gitmo to be transferred to U.S. prisons. What if they don’t want to go?
John Knefel of Truthout talks with CR’s Communications Director, Woods Ervin.
“Finding that prisoners would reject transfer to a U.S. federal prison in Colorado in favor of remaining where they are in Guantánamo isn’t shocking. While we understand how egregiously torturous conditions at Guantánamo are, all prisons are deadly,” Woods Ervin, media director at Critical Resistance, an international prison abolitionist organization, told Truthout in an emailed statement. “We shouldn’t imagine that other prisons are ‘more gentle,’ especially under conditions of solitary confinement. Prisoners often push to remain under conditions where they can maintain their communities, collective practices, and shared fights for their freedom. The issue here is about prisoners making a collective, self-determined choice over the conditions they’re surviving under.”
The conditions at the Florence supermax are horrific, even by U.S. standards. Incarcerated people describe cells made entirely of concrete, including the bed, where prisoners are kept isolated for 23 hours a day. Recreational time is an hour in a small cage. People there go for weeks, if not longer, without seeing the sky, or a highway, or any reminder at all of the outside world. It’s not hard to understand why the 9/11 defendants would want to condition any negotiation on avoiding that kind of treatment, either in a federal prison or post-conviction at Guantanamo Bay.