Pentagon: Guantanamo prison getting guard reinforcements

June 6, 2013 at 11:23 AM
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DORAL, Fla., June 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Southern Command said it asked for more guards for the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison to reach a staff of 2,000 at the center housing 166 detainees.

As of Wednesday, the Pentagon had 1,831 troops and civilians assigned to the prison -- where more than 100 detainees are staging a hunger strike -- including 15 extra public affairs personnel training 20 replacements, The Miami Herald reported.

"When you go to single cell, that takes more people," Navy Capt. Robert Durand, the prison spokesman, said, reporting that 124 reinforcements from the Texas-based 591st Military Police Co. arrive at Guantanamo Saturday.

As of Wednesday, all but about 15 detainees were in single-cell confinement following an April raid that put the once-communal Camp 6 under lockdown.

Another 125 military personnel from a Puerto Rico-based 613th MP Co., an Army Reserves unit, were training at Fort Bliss, Texas, to relieve guards at Guantanamo as part of a regular rotation, Durand said.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for the Southern Command in Doral, Fla., said the prison facility already planned to add more soldiers with the goal of reaching 2,000 personnel, the Herald reported.

Part of the reason for the increase in personnel is in anticipation that the war court, where six men are facing capital terror tribunals, might be "ramping up," Flanders said.

He said another reason was to add more replacements for sailors who served in the prison staff.

The prison reported 103 detainees were participating in the hunger strike and 39 of them were being tube-fed by Navy medical staff as of Wednesday.

The disclosure of additional troops came on the day the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee estimated it cost taxpayers $1.6 million per detainee each year, the Herald said.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said in a release it cost $34,046 a year for a maximum-security prisoner in the Federal Bureau of Corrections system.

The Herald said the estimate was unbalanced because federal corrections costs don't include running the federal courts while Smith's estimate included maintenance of Guantanamo's Camp Justice and Office of Military Commissions.

The Herald said a spokesman for committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., did not immediately respond to a request for his estimate of the per-prisoner cost at Guantanamo.

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