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What Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Can, Can't Do in Prison

No speaking to inmates; little outdoor time
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 15, 2014 8:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – A year to the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, Boston is mourning—and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awaiting trial. The New York Times offers a look inside the medical facility where he is being held under federally-approved "special administrative measures." The rules apply to prisoners who are seen as the biggest threats, the Times reports, though officials have seen little indication that Tsarnaev and his brother were part of any bigger network. His defense team calls the conditions unnecessary. Among the regulations:

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  • Tsarnaev can't speak or pray with fellow inmates.
  • Visitors are limited to his defense team, a mental health worker, and his immediate family. While his legal team saw him 80 out of the first 162 days he was held, his family hardly ever sees him.
  • He is, however, allowed to write them three-page weekly letters and make one phone call per week.
  • Meanwhile, he's received about 1,000 letters from various people, including those who think he's innocent and those calling on him to become Christian. Backers have also set up an account for him containing some $1,000, he told his parents.
  • Any newspapers have classified ads and letters to the editor removed for fear they could contain secret messages; there's no TV or radio.
  • He's hardly allowed outdoors, except in a "single small open place."
  • Still, he told his parents in May that "everything is good."

Each side in his trial has 19 months to prepare its case—a length of time the defense calls a "rocket schedule." (Read more Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stories.)

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