The tiny town of Hardin, Montana, is offering an answer to a very thorny question: Where should the nation put terror detainees if the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is shut down by the end of the year as President Obama has pledged?
Hardin, population 3,400, sits in the southeast corner of Montana, in the state’s poorest county. Its small downtown is almost deserted at midday. The Dollar Store is going out of business. The Hardin Mini Mall is already shut. The town needs jobs — and fast.
Hardin borrowed $27 million through bonds to build the Two Rivers Regional Correctional Facility in hopes of creating new employment opportunities. The jail was ready for prisoners two years ago, but has yet to house a single prisoner.
People here say politics in the capital of Helena has kept it empty. But the city council last month voted 5-0 to back a proposal to bring Gitmo detainees — some of the most hardened terrorists in the world — to the facility.
… Although the facility was intended to be used as a medium-security prison, Smith says it meets maximum-security criteria. Smith, a military veteran, doesn’t have corrections experience, but challenges anyone who doubts the security at Two Rivers.
He says he’d be glad to lock the doubters up to test it. “We will give them three days and I’ll buy the coffee in the coffee shop if they can get out. I’d be happy.”
Glyn Perkins agrees on that score. He worked for eight years in maximum security prisons in Texas and says Two Rivers is the most secure facility he has ever been in. …
Do it. Give them fair trials too. Favorite Fark comment: “Montana? I thought we were done torturing people.”