Colton Harris-Moore, the youthful thief known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” is being held in solitary confinement at a Washington state prison, and his lawyer is upset with how he is being treated.
John Henry Browne, Colton Harris-Moore’s attorney, said Harris-Moore is confined to a small cell with no windows, no TV, no radio, and he’s only allowed out once a day.
“There are times when he’s locked down 72 hours at a time,” said Browne. “It’s basically punishment or torture. It’s certainly not appropriate for a property crime defendant.”
The 21-year-old has been placed in the intensive management unit at Walla Walla State Penitentiary, where convicts facing the death penalty are housed, the Department of Corrections confirmed Friday.
Browne said he’s been told the solitary cell is for Colton Harris-Moore’s own safety, because he’s a high-profile inmate.
“He was much more high profile about three or four months ago when he was in the federal detention center down by the airport, and he was in the general population, and he wasn’t segregated at all, except for a few times when he wanted to be by himself, so that explanation doesn’t really carry any weight with me at all,” said Browne.
Browne said it also costs taxpayers more to keep Harris-Moore in this type of housing.
“The taxpayers should know keeping him in IMU, that’s where he is Intensive Management Unit, death row, keeping him in IMU costs taxpayers about three times as much as if he was in a regular, general population,” said Browne.
Browne said he’s called the governor’s office and the Department of Corrections, asking them to intervene on Harris-Moore’s behalf.
Harris-Moore was arrested two years ago, after crash-landing a stolen plane in the Bahamas. His crime spree included stealing planes, boats and cars and identity theft.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison. But, his attorney notes, there are no violent crimes on his record that would warrant putting him in what amounts to “death row.”
Harris-Moore has been in solitary confinement at Walla Walla since April 11, and he will remain there pending a final decision on his prison placement, expected in about seven weeks, Spokeswoman Selena Davis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.