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Rudolph to be sent to Rockies' Alcatraz?

By Associated Press
Published April 17, 2005

DENVER - Confessed Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph could spend the rest of his life among the nation's most dangerous, violent, escape-prone criminals at the ultrasecure "Supermax" federal prison in southern Colorado.

Rudolph, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to bombings that killed two people and injured more than 120, would spend most of each day alone in a barren white cell with a concrete bed.

Formally named the Administrative Maximum facility, the 10-year-old Supermax is home to Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Richard Reid, who tried to ignite a shoe bomb on a trans-Atlantic flight; Ramzi Yousef, who was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and Terry Nichols, who helped carry out the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Rudolph, 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday to the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta and bombings at abortion clinics and a gay nightclub. He faces four life terms without parole. The former Army explosives expert considered himself a warrior against abortion and against the government that allowed it.

In a defiant statement distributed by his attorneys after his sentencing, Rudolph said some expect him to "languish broken and unloved in the bowels of some supermax." But he insisted that "by the grace of God I am still here - a little bloodied, but emphatically unbowed."

Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said authorities have not decided where Rudolph will be housed. But Jay Cavanaugh of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Birmingham, Ala., said Thursday Rudolph would be held on the "bomber's row" at Supermax, which holds Nichols, Kaczynski and other convicted bombers.

The $60-million Supermax rises out of the arid high plains in Florence, a short drive from the Royal Gorge and about 90 miles southeast of Denver. Built in 1995, the triangular, two-story prison was designed for inmates once held at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Ill., which, in turn, replaced Alcatraz when it closed in 1963.

The soundproofed cells were designed so inmates cannot make eye contact with each other. Each cell has a long, narrow window looking out at other prison walls or the small concrete recreation yard.

Inmates get one hour out of their cells each day to eat or play basketball or handball, though some earn longer recreation periods through good behavior. They can take academic courses via closed-circuit television on small screens in each cell.

Religious services are conducted from a small chapel.

Critics have said such high security is inhumane, driving inmates to depression or other mental illness.

When Supermax opened, then-Attorney General Janet Reno said there was no proof of such problems. She said that inmates from the Marion prison suffered no ill effects from long-term confinement, and that the security measures were necessary to protect the prison staff and the community.

[Last modified April 15, 2005, 19:12:01]

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