About nine prisoners held at the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado have gone on a hunger strike. Now, the watchdog group Solitary Watch reported that the prison has now resorted to force feeding those inmates.
ADX houses 400 inmates and is the highest-security domestic prison run by the federal government. The inmates spend 22 to 24 hour days locked inside of windowless, concrete “boxcar” cells. The prison has been referred to in the past as “a cleaner version of hell.” The force feedings have taken place in H-Unit, a special housing wing reserved for inmates accused of terrorism.
Force feedings have occurred several times in H-Unit in the past. According to a 60 Minutes report from 2007, over 900 force feedings have occurred inside of ADX’s walls since 2001, many of which were personally supervised by former Warden Robert Hood. “I probably conducted, authorized, conducted 350, maybe 400 involuntary feedings,” he said.
ADX has created an inhumane environment for its prisoners. The United Nations human rights office has considered indefinite solitary confinement, such as keeping inmates housed for long periods like ADX does, and nasal force-feeding torture under international laws.
Outside of international regulations, ADX also appears to be violating domestic laws. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) is in charge of oversight and operations of America’s federal prisons, however, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been implicated as having a strong role in H-Unit’s oversight. Although the FBI has overriding authority over the FBOP, the FBI is prohibited from running prison operations by law.
Despite the reported incidents of inhumanity and violation of domestic and international law, H-Unit is exempt from firsthand inspections during BOP internal audits.