Gonzales says Supermax is safe; conceded it could be improved
FLORENCE – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales toured the federal prison holding some the nation’s most violent and disruptive inmates on Wednesday and said the facility is secure, but he conceded it could be improved.”Are there challenges? Yes,” Gonzales said. “Can we do better? Yes.”Gonzales agreed to visit the prison, known as Supermax, after Colorado’s two senators raised concerns about staffing and security.He stopped short of promising to increase the number of guards or build an additional fence around the compound, as some state and local officials have advocated.”The question is reaching a general consensus on what is needed,” Gonzales said. “There may be additional staffing that we can provide to the facilities here.”Supermax, 90 miles southwest of Denver, houses 400 of the nation’s most notorious convicts, including Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph and Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.Security at the prison has been under scrutiny for months. Last year, an arbitrator found staffing levels had made the facility more dangerous, with some shifts going unfilled. In September, a Justice Department report criticized the prison for not properly screening mail and other communications.Sens. Wayne Allard, a Republican, and Ken Salazar, a Democrat, accompanied Gonzales on his tour.”He’s been more than willing to sit down and listen to what we have to say,” Allard said. “We also understand, we’re not about to meet 100 percent of what we want to have here,” he said.
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