Survival Trainers

Why You Wouldn’t Survive El Chapo’s Prison Cell

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It’s been years since you last saw the sky. You haven’t seen another person or heard a human voice in weeks. All you know now are these walls just inches away from your face. Slowly, your mind is slipping into madness. But nobody cares, and nobody will come to help you ever.

You’ll be locked up in this tiny cell for the rest of your life. It might sound like a horror movie, but that’s how the most dangerous inmates in the United States live at the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, commonly known as ADX Florence, the most secure prison in the country,

And possibly the world. These walls are reserved for those whom the American government deems an exceptional threat to society, like the Unabomber, 9/11 terrorists, or the most notorious drug lord in history, El Chapo, a brutal killer who allegedly ordered the deaths of between 2,000 and 3,000 people, not to mention

The hundreds of thousands who died from drug overdoses worldwide. But the real reason El Chapo ended up here is because he’s become somewhat of an escape artist. He’s managed to bust loose not just once but twice from top-notch security prisons. “That all out manhunt right now for the world’s most dangerous

Drug lord, Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo.” “Mexican authorities were confident no one could possibly escape the country’s only supermax prison until last night.” “This is a man who the Mexican government had said would never break out of prison again. But he did.” After his third arrest, American authorities wasted no time

And pushed for his extradition to the United States, fearing he would escape yet again. After being sentenced to life in prison, he was sent to ADX. Even this callous criminal cried after learning he would spend his days in these tortuous conditions. Would you fare better than him? Well, your chances don’t look great.

This prison has managed to break even the most vicious felons, making them succumb to the greatest threat within these walls: their own minds. At least six inmates have died by suicide since the prison opened in 1994, and many others have descended into insanity, resorting to eating their own waste

Or mutilating their bodies in horrifying ways. If you’re locked up in here, your primary concern shouldn’t be whether you’ll see the sky again, but if you’ll ever regain your sanity. Has anyone ever gone on to live a normal life after spending time here? How did a decade in solitary confinement

Mutilate one inmate beyond recognition? And why do ADX officials believe that El Chapo is planning another escape? Before we can answer all that, we need to take a trip back in time. Once upon a time, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

For years, he ran one of the largest criminal enterprises on the planet, the Sinaloa Cartel, a shady criminal enterprise that makes, moves, and sells drugs everywhere. American authorities figure this organization pulls in about $40 billion every year. Even after getting nabbed and tossed in a Mexican slammer in 1993,

El Chapo continued to rule the cartel from behind bars until 2001. That’s when rumors about his imminent extradition to the U.S. reached the drug lord’s ears, and he escaped from prison with a little help from some crooked officials. According to witnesses, guards popped open his cell, put him in a laundry cart,

And rolled him out to the parking lot, where his cartel buddies were waiting to whisk him away. He kept running the show out in the open for nearly 15 years until he got caught again in 2014. This time, they stuck him in a super-secure slammer where they watched his every move.

But even with all the tight security, one night, just 18 months after getting caught, El Chapo disappeared again. He escaped through an elaborate tunnel, 10 m (30 ft) deep into the ground, extending over 1.5 km (1 mi) to an abandoned house near the prison. Thankfully, he was nabbed again

The following year and shipped off to the toughest prison in the country. Now, some authorities are sweating bullets, thinking he’s cooking up another escape plan. But how is he planning to escape again? We’ll expand on that in a sec. ADX was made for guys like him who spot a chance to bust out

With every little crack in the system, but here, there ain’t no cracks. Most inmates here stay locked up solo for 23 hours a day. They never catch a glimpse of the sky, the mountains, not even a stretch of highway —just cold, hard concrete. Even an hour in the “recreation cage,”

Which is just another dim cell, is seen as a rare treat around here. And yeah, Supermax has an even tougher spot. It’s called Range 13, where inmates are watched 24/7, spend years in solitary, and never see the outside world. They only get a 15-minute call once a month.

Well, maybe not all of them. Back in 2023, El Chapo griped to a Chicago judge about being kept from his lawyer and legal papers, saying he was getting pushed around by the authorities because of his past breakouts. But for the folks in charge, that’s just a sign he’s plotting his next getaway.

Even one of the old wardens, Robert Hood, figures El Chapo won’t stop trying to bust out, just to test how far he can push the system. But maybe madness will take over the gangster’s mind before he can try to break free, like it has with many other inmates.

One of the most notorious of them is Jack Powers, who spent 12 years in solitary confinement at ADX. Before getting locked up in ADX, Powers never showed signs of mental illness. But after a few years, he started harming himself brutally, biting off one of his fingers, slicing his Achilles tendon,

and mutilating his genitals. After enduring this horrifying ordeal, he was finally transferred to a mental institution. Now, he’s out of prison and speaks out against solitary confinement, advocating for prison reform in the United States. During his time in solitary confinement, he read and wrote a lot. His writing was his way

To let out his feelings and helped him get through the horrors of prison life and the challenges of his own mind. Now, despite the toll this supermax prison can take on your sanity, ADX isn’t even the deadliest prison in the world. There’s a nightmarish facility

Where nearly 1,000 people died in just one year. Want to hear the story? It’s right here on How to Survive.

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