Isolation at the federal supermax in Florence is even more isolating now that the prison has canceled its subscription to The Denver Post.
Many readers will shrug off this news because, after all, the place is full of killers, spies, mob bosses and terrorists. Who cares if the Unabomber, Shoe Bomber and a 9/11 conspirator no longer have access to Colorado's statewide daily?
I do, and not just because I write for the paper.
ADX is the country's highest security federal prison. Its inmates live in solitary confinement, locked in their cells 23 hours a day. The remaining hour is slotted for exercise, alone, in 10-by-10-foot outdoor cages.
"A clean version of hell," is how its own warden once described it.
Don't get me wrong. I'm big on security, especially given that the feds are housing their scariest convicts here in Colorado.
Still, I'm bigger on transparency.
Officials strain to limit information about the 490-bed prison whose use of long-term solitary confinement is decried by human-rights groups worldwide. Journalists aren't allowed to visit or interview inmates. A government we know to be capable of other forms of torture tells us virtually nothing about how it's treating its prisoners here in our back yard.
That's why access to the paper matters