The Escape (John Puller Series) by David Baldacci
THE PRISON LOOKED more like the campus of a community college than a place where men were kept in cells for ten years or longer for offenses committed while wearing the uniform of their country. There were no guard towers, but there were two staggered twelve-foot-tall security fences, armed patrols, and enough surveillance cameras to keep an electronic eye on virtually every millimeter of the place. Situated at the northern end of Fort Leavenworth, the United States Disciplinary Barracks sat next to the Missouri River on nearly forty rolling, forested Kansas acres, a mound of brick and razor wire cradled by a green hand. It was the only maximum-security military prison for males in the country.
Americaâ€™s foremost military prison was called the USDB, or the DB for short. The Leavenworth federal penitentiary for civilians, one of three prisons on the grounds of Fort Leavenworth, was four miles to the south. Along with the Joint Regional Correctional Facilityâ€”also for military prisonersâ€”there was a fourth privately operated prison in Leavenworth, which raised the total inmate population among the four prisons to about five thousand. The Leavenworth Tourism Bureau, apparently seeking to capitalize on any bit of notoriety to lure visitors to the area, had incorporated the prison angle into its promotional brochures with the phrase â€œDoinâ€™ time in Leavenworth.â€
Federal dollars rolled through this part of Kansas and jumped the border into Missouri like a flood of green paper locusts, boosting the local economy and filling the coffers of businesses that provided the soldiers with smoked ribs, cold beer, fast cars, cheap hookers, and pretty much everything in between.
Inside the DB were about four hundred and fifty prisoners. Inmates were housed in a series of escape-proof pods, including a Special Housing Unit, or SHU. The majority of inmates were here for sex-based crimes. They were mostly young and their sentences were long.
Approximately ten prisoners were kept in solitary confinement at any one time, while the remaining inmates were housed in the general population. There were no bars on the doors; they were just solid metal, with a slot at the bottom for food trays to be shoved through. This also allowed for shackles to be fitted like a new pair of iron shoes when a prisoner needed to be transported somewhere.
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