As the Obama administration figures out where it can place Guantanamo Bay detainees before the military brig closes next year, there is one place they might have to scratch from their list of viable options: the supermax prison in Florence, Colo.
The facility — which already holds nearly three dozen terrorists, some with ties to al-Qaeda like September 11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui — doesn’t have enough beds, The Denver Post reported today. There is only one bed open, U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Tracy Billingsley told The Post.
The jail would have to transfer some of its prisoners from the prison or increase its capacity in order to accommodate the detainees, which would mean hiring more staff, according to The Post.
“There’s a whole contingent of issues that have to be well thought out before we ever agreed to bring inmates of that caliber into our system,” said Bryan Lowry, president of the National Council of Prison Locals, which represents federal correctional officers, told The Post. “These inmates that are in there now are some of the most dangerous inmates in the nation. I don’t know how you move them out just to move inmates from Guantanamo in.”
We previously reported that Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) supported moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Colorado facility.
Florence Town Manager Tom Piltingsrud told The Post that locals probably wouldn’t mind the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the prison. But he added that his town’s residents are prepared if there are any problems with the suspected terrorists.
“Most of us own guns,” he told The Post.
If Colorado doesn’t work out, some government officials are open to accepting detainees in their cities. We previously reported that Hardin, Mont. wouldn’t have a problem with hosting the detainees. Same goes for Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who would support housing the detainees in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), who would accept Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Alexandria, Va.