The Pentagon is expected to shutter the Guantánamo Bay detention center in the coming week. The Obama Administration is considering a few correctional facilities to house those moved from the detention center in Cuba, but it is likely to face opposition while bringing the prisoners back to America.
The long-stalled plan needs a correctional facility on United States soil, and among the few that do pass the test, the Centennial correctional facility in Colorado has been deemed most suitable to house those detainees, who have been sentenced to permanent incarceration. Other possible detention centers that might serve as a viable alternative to Guantánamo Bay are in South Carolina and Kansas.
What makes a detention center as good as Guantánamo Bay? Officials of the Obama administration and from the Pentagon have been closely reviewing multiple detention centers in United States. Though each location is unique, they can be compared on their benefits or pitfalls.
While the exact specifications of a detention center that makes it a good alternative to Guantánamo Bay aren’t disclosed for security reasons, experts indicate that these have to match or exceed the parameters found in Cuba. The most elementary is the location. The detention center should be quite far from civilization, but shouldn’t cost the administration heavily. Detention centers that house such hardcore inmates require special renovations and reinforced features, with advanced monitoring facilities. Moreover, considering the type of prisoners being held there, the Pentagon needs to station military troops. The center should also be equipped with facilities that allow military commission hearings as well as health care facilities.
There are very few correctional facilities in America that match the requirements, let alone exceed. However, of the select few detention centers that did meet the criteria, the Centennial facility has advantages that could outweigh the disadvantages there, according to officials, reported the Guardian. But Pentagon officials aren’t willing to confirm or deny the possibility of the detention center in Colorado being chosen as the alternative to Guantánamo Bay.
Retired military officers send letter to Obama urging him to shut down detention center at Guantanamo pic.twitter.com/EwoZtKMjU9
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 5, 2015
Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has strongly voiced his disapproval, even before anything has been officially announced.
“I will not sit idly by while the president uses political promises to imperil the people of Colorado by moving enemy combatants from Cuba, Guantánamo Bay, to my state of Colorado.”
Gardner’s point is muted by the fact that Colorado isn’t a stranger to housing the deadliest of prisoners. The Supermax in Florence, Colorado, is know as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” It has held multiple terrorists, including one of the conspirators of the attack that took place on September 11, 2001.
While the Colorado Senator may be opposed to bringing in permanently incarcerated prisoners to his state, it was Arizona Sen. John McCain who has long sought an administration plan regarding the closing of the facility of Guantánamo, and where the detainees will be transferred, reported HNGN.
“I’ve asked for six and a half years for this administration to come forward with a plan — a plan that we could implement in order to close Guantánamo. They have never come forward with one and it would have to be approved by Congress.”
Guantánamo Bay currently holds 112 detainees, of which, 53 could be moved soon. The rest are either facing trial by military commission or the government has determined that they are too dangerous to release but are not facing charges, reported ABC News.
Congress has long opposed closing Guantánamo Bay and bringing back such dangerous criminals back to America. Though the Pentagon may be looking to shutter the detention center in Cuba, it may face severe opposition. Could the stand-off morph into a decisive aspect in the ongoing presidential race?
[Photo by John Moore / Getty Images, Mladen Antonov /Getty Images, John Moore/Getty Images]