WH Eyes US Prison, Court Complex for Gitmo Detainees

Obama mulls domestic military-civilian facility
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2009 11:33 AM CDT
The Obama administration is considering a plan to house terror suspects at the US Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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(Newser) – Pressed by President Obama's January 2010 deadline to close Guantanamo Bay, as well as congressional skittishness over holding terrorist suspects at prisons around the US, the administration is considering a plan to house them at a single maximum-security prison facility in Michigan or Kansas, the AP reports. The site would include a courtroom, space for detainees held indefinitely without expectation of a trial, and cells for detainees released by courts but unwanted by other countries—all of which face legal and logistical hurdles.

Unless Congress acts to change laws to accommodate the plans, “we gain nothing,” one expert says. “All we do is create a Guantanamo in Kansas or wherever.” Resistance to the proposal is high in Kansas and in Michigan, where upgrading the existing facility could cost more than $100 million. One law professor concedes that enacting the plan will be difficult, but adds, “This seems to be the most pragmatic way ahead.”
(Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)