‘Brooklyn’s Abu Ghraib’
While facing trial in Brooklyn, Guzmán may be held in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), which, CNN notes, the Justice Department reserves for”extremely dangerous, violent, or escape-prone” inmates.
Numerous investigations of rights abuses and reports of abuse of Muslim and immigrant prisoners have earned the facility the nickname “Brooklyn’s Abu Ghraib,” referring to the Iraqi prison that was the scene ofnumerous human-rights abusesduring the Iraq war.
The MDC also has a reputation for strict security and tight control over prisoners’ comings and goings, making it extremely unlikely Guzmán will be able to mount the kind of activities or escapes he’s pulled off in the past.
“He’s definitely not going to be digging any tunnels in Brooklyn,” former MDC prisoner Esteban Gonzalez told CNN. “I can tell you that. Once those metal doors close behind him, it’s pretty much over.”
“El Chapo’s basically going to be locked down … in his cell 23 hours a day,” Robert Hood, a former Federal Bureau of Prisons warden, told CNN.
Guzmán will likely be allowed an hour of recreation a day, in a rooftop area enclosed on all sides by chain-link fence.
His surroundings in Brooklyn will be far cry from his lockups in Mexico. During his first stint in jail from 1993 to 2001 in southwest Mexico, he dined lavishly and reportedly had so many conjugal visits he had to keep a supply of Viagra on hand.
Captured again in 2014, he spent the next 17 months under tighter security, but was still able to mount an escape that involved extensive aid from prison officials. After Guzmán’s third capture in January, the Mexican government has seemed dead-set on keeping him locked up, going so far to move him from jail in central Mexico to a prison near the US border after a suspicious power outage.
Guzmán, because of his status, would likely be held in isolation in Brooklyn, and while that may be safer than being in the general population, it may not be a better experience.
“It will be very, very lonely for El Chapo,” Arnett Gaston, former commanding officer of New York’s Rikers Island jail and federal-prisons-bureau consultant, told CNN. “He won’t have cellmates to talk to.”