His legal team has said the isolation of 10 South, the most secure wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, is more severe than anything he faced in Mexico — where the kingpin said prison conditions were turning him into a zombie.
They have said his physical and mental health have deteriorated in the US jail, including the development of “auditory hallucinations.” (The US government says he’s just overhearing music from a nearby radio.)
Some of Guzman’s complains seem to be about the day-to-day routine in jail.
Earlier this month, his lawyers submitted a motion saying that though he is able to watch TV in the jail’s recreational room, the room is arranged in such a way that he cannot watch the TV while he is on the recreational bike.
This hindrance, his legal team said, was one of the “nonsensical obstacles” furthering Guzman’s “sense of frustration and isolation,” The New York Times reported.
According to The Times:
“Nor is he permitted to choose the channel, since officials at 10 South have ‘imposed some sort of programming limitation’ on Mr. Guzmán, his lawyers said. Among the few shows that Mr. Guzmán has been able to view is a ‘nature program about a rhinoceros’ that, they said, has been “replayed numerous times.'”
Indignities aside, Guzman’s treatment in the US jail seems to be slightly better than that for others who have been held there.
Cells in that part of the prison are typically 17 feet by 8 feet, but the US government says Guzman has the biggest cell.
After complaining about the prison tap water hurting his throat, Guzman has started receiving six small water bottles every two weeks.
And he recently got the small clock he bought from the prison commissary returned after it was confiscated “with no explanation and no refund,” The Times reports.
Vincent Basciano, allegedly a former mob boss, once said 10 South was “a torture chamber that is a tool the government uses to try to make a defendant cooperate,” and the isolation of the facility — inmates are not allowed to talk to one another — have driven many to distress.
Guzman, however, reportedly has daily visits from his legal team. (US prosecutors have warned of potential cartel infiltrators on his legal team.) Court papers cited by The Times saying he gets 21 hours a week with his lawyers and representatives, though he is denied visits by his family.
Though his conditions in 10 South appear to be slightly more accommodating than those other inmates face, Guzman’s representatives have called for Amnesty International — which has raised concern about his treatment there — be allowed into the facility to investigate.