BOSTON, May 9 (By Beverly Ford for RIA Novosti) - Wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit, Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spends 23 hours a day alone inside a small cell in a high security housing unit at a federal medical detention center in Devens, Massachusetts, according to a prison spokesman.
Most of the other 1,000 inmates there are being held for drug, weapons or immigration offenses. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev, who just weeks earlier was attending classes at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is there on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction.
Tsarnaev has had no visitors other than his lawyers since being moved to the prison hospital nearly two weeks ago. Even his uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, has not been allowed to see him because protocols required by the prison are not yet in place, prison spokesman John Colautti told RIA Novosti.
"He has to request who he wants to visit and he must have known them prior to incarceration," Colautti said. Visitors also must undergo a thorough background check before gaining admission to the hospital prison.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, along with his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan, ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who were living in Massachusetts, allegedly planted two pressure-cooker bombs laden with shrapnel and explosives near the finish line of the April 15 Boston Marathon killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.
Dzhokhar may not know that Tamerlan, who was killed during a firefight with police April 19, has finally been buried after officials in dozens of cities and towns refused to accept his body.
The Worcester, Massachusetts Police Department said Thursday that Tamerlan’s body had been entombed at an undisclosed location.
There is no television or computer access in the high security unit where Dzhokhar is housed, said Colautti. And although inmates are allowed to use headphones to listen to radios, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has little money in his prison account to buy the $44 Walkman sold in the prison canteen.
The only people he comes in contact with regularly, Colautti said, are the prison doctors who check daily on the wounds to his head, neck and legs that he received in the shootout.
His life, said Colautti, “is unremarkable.”
The only time Tsarnaev gets out of the tiny cell – estimated to measure 10-feet-by-10-feet (3-meters-by-3-meters) and containing a sink, toilet, shower and a bed bolted to the floor – is for an hour of recreation every day.
Even meals, all prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary requirements like Thursday's baked lasagna, salad and garlic bread, are served in his cell.
A book cart holding paperbacks is brought around at least once a week, giving inmates a chance to select new reading material. Accommodations are also made for prisoners who want to do legal research, Colautti added.
Tsarnaev's life could remain "unremarkable" for the foreseeable future.
Colautti said it's likely that “an inmate with his background will be held in a secure unit until his case is adjudicated,” which could be in about a year, at the earliest.
He could be transferred to another facility or he could be kept at Devens, it depends on where the government wants to place him.
Since he is now a "celebrity" prisoner, it could be anywhere the feds feel he will be safest. It's still too early to tell where he will go and how long he will remain at Devens.