Wake-Up Call: Big House on the prairie

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

On January 22, new President Barack Obama signed an executive order promising that Guantanamo would go -- within a year. But closing the prison in Cuba -- and figuring out where to put the 229 suspected terrorists now held there -- has proved complicated. Moving at least some of them to facilities in the United States is still a possibility, although Supermax, the federal maximum-security prison down in Florence, is already full with such residents as 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, who's reportedly not pleased with the food he's getting.

Since Supermax has its hands full, it might be time to consider the offer of Hardin, Montana, whose officials have said they'd welcome adding the Gitmo detainees to its population. They have an empty, 460-bed prison, built as an economic-development measure in 2007, and although it would need considerable beefing up of security systems, it could be as good a location as any. In April, the town's city council adopted a resolution pronouncing that Hardin "fully supports the efforts of the Two Rivers Authority to contact State and Federal officials for the purpose of inquiring into the possibility of housing Guantanamo detainees at the Two Rivers Authority in Hardin, Montana, and to determine whether the Two Rivers Detention Center could provide a safe and secure environment for housing said detainees." They asked for it; they should get it.

I just drove -- fast -- through Hardin, a tiny burg on the plains right up against the Crow Reservation, and about the only thing more daunting to a potential escapee than an ocean might well be that sea of grass. And even a Montana winter could be a fair trade for a Cuban summer.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.