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Reader: El Chapo Gives Colorado Transplants a Bad Name
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Reader: El Chapo Gives Colorado Transplants a Bad Name

Colorado has a new resident: Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord and former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel who's known as El Chapo. Sentenced to life in prison, this weekend he was moved to the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum, or ADX, the highest-security pen in the federal prison system, in Florence, a hundred miles southwest of Denver.

That makes El Chapo Colorado's most infamous transplant.

A former warden once described ADX as “a clean version of hell,” as Alan Prendergast reported in his cover story on ADX's H United published last July. Civil-rights attorneys say it's far worse. But some readers think that's what El Chapo deserves.

Says Warren: 

It's like Westword wants compassion for the trash in ADX. They could use a daily beating as well as the well-deserved care they are getting on the taxpayer dime. You don't deserve any type of humane treatment when you end up there. They deserve to waste away into insanity and then death.

Responds Tim: 

I don't feel this is the best example to use with El Chapo, but there are plenty of people spending time in solitary who might qualify for better conditions but can't for whatever reason. I don't necessarily feel that is right when we know they develop worsening issues from said confinement. There's receding gains from a punishment if it worsens a person's condition and they are more dangerous upon release.

 Counters Jimmy: 

They aren't there because they are first-class citizens with a speeding ticket.

 Replies John: 

Is it cruel and unusual? Yes, I would say so. It goes against the eighth amendment. If you are okay with this but also don’t want the second amendment trampled on, you are a hypocrite. You can’t pick and choose the amendments that make you happy and throw out the ones that you don’t like; you're a constitutional apologist. By no means am I saying don’t punish El Chapo, but let’s not pretend this is actually constitutional.

And Susan offers this: El Chapo definitely gives Colorado transplants a bad name.

At his sentencing last week, El Chapo complained about his previous accommodations, telling the judge: "As you know, Your Honor, the conditions of my confinements under which I've lived for the last thirty months have been total torture. I have been forced to drink unsanitary water. I have been denied access to fresh air and to sunlight. The only light that I get in my cell comes through a duct, and the air that comes into the cell is forced in and it makes my ears, my throat, my head hurt. In order to sleep, I have to use plugs made out of toilet paper in my ears because of the noise that the air duct makes and this has affected me during this time."

After his extradition in January 2017, El Chapo was held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high-security federal jail in Manhattan where his wife was not allowed to visit him, he said. "It has been psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day. With all due respect, it's been torture. It's the most inhumane situation I've lived in my life. It's been lack of respect for human dignity. I was forced...these last 30 months have been filled with torture, and we are in the 21st century. We would not be subjected to these cruel and inhumane treatment."

Welcome to ADX, El Chapo.

What do you think about Colorado's newest transplant? The place where he's imprisoned? Post a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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