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Remembering 9/11: Thank the ‘Supermax’ staff

Correctional staff at the “supermax” prison in Florence, Colo. protect us each day by housing dozens of terrorists

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we pay appropriate tribute to those 3,000 innocent people that lost their lives in the WTC terrorist attacks. We should also pay tribute to the correctional staff at the “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado, that protect us each day by housing dozens of terrorists who were involved in horrific acts against the USA.

The handling of terrorist and radical inmates presents a challenge to correctional officials, and prison staff do an exceptional job. Correctional workers do not often get the attention, recognition and appreciation they deserve.

It is the professionalism of correctional staff and the outstanding way they manage volatile inmate populations that ensure public safety.

Staff at the U.S. Penitentiary (known as ADX or administrative maximum) are committed to public service; to helping run a safe, humane, and secure prison; and to protecting public safety.

Every day, staff put their lives on the line. Key pieces of counter-terrorism intelligence remain within the walls of what is often called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

Two priorities in handling terrorists are to curb the activities of terrorists and to contain the spread of terrorism. Correctional workers continue to do a commendable job in both areas.

Prison staff treat all inmates (even terrorists) with humanity, regardless of their personal disgust for their actions. There is a baseline standard of care and treatment for all inmates.

There is no “field manual” for humane treatment of prisoners who terrorized our country; only the responsibility to do what is right and the global responsibility to maintain civility within a facility that represents our country.

Similar to the Eagle on a U.S. one dollar bill, ADX staff hold an olive branch and arrows. They want peace, but are not afraid to fight to preserve peace.

At the end of the day, staff return home knowing they assisted in the war on terrorism in a professional manner.

As we pay tribute to the 3,000 victims of terrorism, let’s not forget the dedication, bravery, and professionalism of our “supermax” staff. Their commitment to maintain the highest standard of conduct and civility should not go unnoticed.

We must remember the noble acts of all correctional workers throughout the United States — occurring every day in the face of significant risk; and in so doing, renew our vigor and our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of conduct. We owe our deepest gratitude for their service and their sacrifice.

Bob Hood has over 45 years of correctional experience at the local, state and federal levels. He retired from the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, as warden of America’s most secure prison — the United States “Supermax” in Florence, Colorado.

In his role as warden, he communicated daily with inmates such as Terry Nichols, the Oklahoma City bomber; Richard Reid, the Al-Qaeda “shoe bomber”; Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, along with several WTC bombing participants, Embassy bombing participants, and FBI Spy Robert Hanssen. He has significant experience in managing disruptive inmates and developing emergency plans for correctional facilities.

Security Magazine identified Mr. Hood as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People in the Security Industry,” and CBS aired a “60 Minutes” special on his ability to effectively manage the most secured prison in America.

Click here to see the “60 Minutes” special interview of Warden Bob Hood.