US Considering New Prison for Guantanamo Inmates

WASHINGTON, D.C. (RPRN) 8/3/2009–U.S. officials say the Obama administration is considering moving suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a prison in the United States that would have its own courtrooms for military and civilian trials.

The maximum-security facility would be jointly run by the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security. Each department would oversee a different set of inmates.

Officials within the administration say the court-prison complex is just one of several options being considered as part of President Barack Obama’s plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo by next January.

Officials say the facility would also house prisoners in indefinite detention or those cleared for release with no country willing to take them.

The United States is currently looking for host countries for an estimated 50 Guantanamo detainees it has decided not to prosecute.

There are about 230 inmates at the detention center. The facility has been the focus of intense criticism in the United States and abroad since then-President George W. Bush set it up after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

But closing Guantanamo has also raised concerns. Earlier this year, Congress denied President Obama’s request for $80 million to begin the process. Lawmakers say they want the administration to provide more details on how it plans to deal with the remaining detainees. Opposition Republicans in Congress have opposed bringing them into the U.S.

Officials commenting on the possibility of a new hybrid detention center say the administration is looking at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth in the midwestern state of Kansas and a maximum security prison in the Mid-western state of Michigan as potential locations.

The Associated Press was the first to report the proposal in a story published Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Photo credit: A Camp Delta recreation and exercise area at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The detention block is shown with sunshades drawn on December 3, 2002. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Stephen Lewald, U.S. Army.

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