Judy, say hello to Zacarias


Editor & Publisher reports that New York Times reporter Judith Miller will be checking into a Graybar Hotel, instead being grounded with no cell phone and no internet access, as she had requested. But luckily for her, it is an upscale unit in the Graybar chain: the Alexandria (Va.) Detention Center.

It was completed in 1987 at a cost of $15 million, and houses all individuals committed by the courts to the sheriff's custody——local, state and federal. According to the Web site of the city's sheriff's department, the Center's management is based upon "New Generation" jail philosophy, which it describes as "a more modern and humane approach over traditional linear—style institution.

"New Generation philosophy is a combination of management style and architectural design which facilitates increased staff and inmates contact and works to reduce tension and improve security within the correctional setting."

This "scene," the Web site says, "resembles a dormitory with a lounge attached. At one end of a large room. a handful of young men are watching television; in another area, a second group watches a different set. Several inmates are playing cards. The area is bright, sunny, and clean. The furniture——sofa and chairs——is comfortable and clean. The carpet on the floor is unstained. No one has scratched his or her initials in the paints or on the wood tables. Windows allow a view of the outside.

"Despite all the activity, the room is relatively quiet. The television volume is low, and no one is shouting.

Most startling of all is the fact that Zacarias Moussaoui, the convicted 9/11 terrorist, is another lucky inhabitant. Miller is an excellent journalist. Perhaps she will get him talking.

The folks at the Alexandria Detention Center take pride in their accommodations. For those interested, they have published a brochure on their offerings (with pictures) that can be found here. Card—playing, television sets, comfortable sofa and chairs, nice views, indoor exercise areas, libraries. It all seems very accommodating and comfortable to me. More than college dorms way back when I lived in them years ago.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   7 7 05