Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman, arguably Mexico’s most notorious cartel boss, was finally extradited to the U.S. last week in a swift operation. Once in the U.S., El Chapo was quickly transported to New York, where he is now housed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a prison that has been described as worse than Guantanamo Bay.
So what makes the Metropolitan Correctional Center worse than Guantanamo?
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who has served time in both prisons, explained the differences between the two, saying that Guantanamo had room to socialize and pray with other inmates. On the other hand, the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s conditions were worse because many prisoners were in solitary confinement.
David E. Patton, one of El Chapo’s lawyers, told the New York Times that the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York is the perfect place to drive someone crazy.
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Lights can stay on 24 hours a day, windows are obscured, and the slot through which guards interact with prisoners are kept shut, providing no link to the outside world. Prisoners’ eyesight is known to deteriorate in these conditions, leaving many nearsighted. Guards watch inmates at all times via cameras installed in each cell. Catherine Linaweaver, a former lockup warden, spoke to the Associated Press about the facility, saying, “It’s got extra security above and beyond what you would have in a restricted housing area. There is no other unit in the Bureau of Prisons like the high-security unit in New York.”