Leavenworth Prison May Be Bradley Manning’s New Home

    August 21, 2013

Earlier today we brought you news that Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted of providing over 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, had been sentenced to 35 years in prison. Now it appears that we know which prison he’ll be going to. Manning’s lawyer told reporters in the courtroom today that his client would be headed to Leavenworth Prison in Kansas.

The military prison, which most people know by its Hollywood reputation, is situated on the grounds of the old Fort Leavenworth. The fort was built in 1827 as a fairly typical frontier Army fort. Nearly fifty years later, in 1875, it was chosen to be the site of a military prison housing 300 inmates. In 1895 the War Department handed control of the prison over to the Department of Justice. Today the site is home to three separate prisons, all for male inmates only: a civilian prison, the United States Disciplinary Barracks, and the Midwest Joint Correctional Facility. The latter two are both U.S. military prisons. The USDB is a maximum security prison, while the MJCF is a medium security facility. It is not yet clear which of the two facilities will house Private Manning as he serves his sentence.

Both the military and civilian facilities at Leavenworth have played host to quite a few notable prisoners, both civilians and military personnel. German POWs were held there during World War 2 and Mennonite conscientious objectors where housed there during World War 1. Irish mob boss Whitey Bulger did a year at Leavenworth as part of a 9-year sentence for burglary in the ’60s. Robert Stroud, better known as the Bird Man of Alcatraz, was at Leavenworth for 30 years before being transferred to Alcatraz, and it was in his cell at Leavenworth that he began keeping and studying the birds that spawned his nickname. James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 did a three-year stint at Leavenworth from 1955 to 1958 for forgery. NFL quarterback Michael Vick served 23 months for running a dog fighting ring before being released in 2009.

And now Bradley Manning will begin what could be a 35-year stint at the prison. What’s more, there’s a good chance that Manning will be joined soon by Nidal Hassan, who is currently standing trial for murdering 13 people and wounding 30 in a 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood.

There is some hope for Manning, however. As noted in our report this morning, there’s a good chance that he will not serve the entirety of his 35-year sentence. He will be credited with time served plus 112 days, which accounts for nearly four of his 35 years. Additionally he will be eligible for parole in as few as eight or nine years.