POLITICS

Guantanamo Prison Chief Predicts 'Slow' Transition Back To Communal Detention

Until the raid on Saturday, April 13, 2013, on Guantanamo's communal prison compound, commanders said, U.S. troops were blind
Until the raid on Saturday, April 13, 2013, on Guantanamo's communal prison compound, commanders said, U.S. troops were blind to what was going on inside individual cells because the captives had covered up 147 of the 160 cellblock cameras. Tuesday, the 65 or so captives were under lockdown in individual cells, and guards had surveillance on each one, as illustrated here where cell B105 shows a prisoner standing in prayer -- and B101 shows the black helmets and other riot gear U.S. forces used on the blocks. (Carol Rosenberg/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba -- The man in charge of Guantanamo's prison camps told reporters Wednesday he expects a "slow" and "lengthy" transition back to communal living for detainees in Camp Six, the facility raided early Saturday morning after detainees refused to uncover cameras in their cells.

"I don't have a specific timeline on it, but I can tell you that it's a slow process of progressively observing each detainee and their behavior based on the level of cooperation, compliance that we get from them," Army Col. John Bogdan said.

"We will slowly separate out a group that can earn back some incentive items, earn back some increased privileges and eventually be offered communal again with much the same rules that we had for communal now," he said.

On Saturday, detainees at Camp Six were forced into single cells from their communal living area. A news release issued by the Department of Defense at the time said the isolation was "in response to efforts by detainees to limit the guard force's ability to observe the detainees by covering surveillance cameras, windows, and glass partitions."

"Communal's not gone," Bogdan continued on Wednesday. "It'll be a while before we're back in a communal environment again, because I see this as a vetting, screening process to determine exactly who we think can go into a communal environment, and follow the rules and be compliant. And that's not a short process."

Bogdan, who took charge of the camps back in June, said Joint Task Force Guantanamo had the "intent to move back toward a communal operation" and that he didn't expect any major changes to the rules.

"We frequently had individuals pushing the envelope, if you will, to see what they could get away with before we would put them on a discipline status to try to correct their behavior," Bogdan said. "I think the rules were acceptable the way they were in communal, so it'll generally be the same parameters."

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