Judge Decides: No Earplugs or Outdoor Exercise for El Chapo

Lawyers called prison conditions cruel and unusual
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2019 5:47 PM CDT
Judge Decides: No Earplugs or Outdoor Exercise for El Chapo
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, shown in 2014, has requested improved prison conditions.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

Prison conditions will not be improving for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, a federal judge has decided. The Mexican drug lord had asked for at least two hours of outdoor recreation per week, access to the main commissary, the ability to buy six bottles of water a week, and earplugs to ease headaches and ear pain and help him sleep, CNN reports. Guzman is in solitary confinement in an 8-by-10-foot windowless cell in Manhattan, where the light is on 24 hours a day, and the air conditioning is so loud that his lawyer said he can't sleep. That's cruel and unusual punishment, his legal team said in asking for the changes. Federal officials said the requests might be part of an escape plan.

US District Judge Brian Cogan agreed that Guzman's behavior in prison has been exemplary, but he attributed that to the conditions of his incarceration. "His continued good behavior is not a reason to modify them," Cogan said. "It is a reason to keep them in place." The prison rules are different for Guzman because of concern that Guzman he might find a way to keep running his drug empire, coordinate an escape, or order attacks on people helping the government. Guzman is awaiting sentencing after being convicted in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs into the US, per the Independent. (Guzman's wife plans to run one family business.)

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