It's been just over a week since Times reporter Judith Miller was handcuffed and dragged off to Alexandria Detention Center, serving time for her refusal to disclose her source in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Times editor-in-chief Bill Keller went to visit Miller and reports on her conditions:
To the Staff:
Many of you have asked for an update on Judy Miller's situation since she was marched off by the marshals a little more than a week ago. I had about 45 minutes with her Tuesday night, talking to her on a phone through a plastic partition in the visiting room of the jail, and I should tell you first that she is firm in her resolve and buoyed by the support of her friends, colleagues, and many readers. She asked me to thank you for your letters, and to apologize for the fact that she has strict limits on her right to reply. Both her letter-writing privileges and her ability to call out are constrained.
But what about the decor at the Alexandria Detention Center? Does Judy like the food? And how does she handle tv privileges with her blockmates? After the jump, more revelations from Keller.
The Alexandria Detention Center is comparatively clean and reputedly safe, but it is unmistakably a jail. The color scheme is drab, the general mood is downbeat, and there is no such thing as privacy. The cellblock - she is in a block of about 20 women, incarcerated for non-violent offenses - is crowded. Cells intended for single inmates are doubled up, so that Judy has been sleeping on a foam mattress on the floor. I'm told that her cellmate is being released today, which means Judy graduates up to the lone bed - a foam mattress on a metal plank. She has had some trouble keeping the food down, and the commissary, which offers supplementary snack foods, has been closed since her arrival.
Judy keeps up on the news through visits from her lawyers and a regular stream of friends, family and colleagues - and through occasional snippets of CNN and Fox News. (The women in the cellblock take turns picking the program on the communal TV set. Her neighbors put up with Judy's thirst for news, and she in turn is learning a lot about hip-hop videos.) We are trying to arrange for her to get newspapers. The jail circulates a cart of library books, a collection of potboilers and light fiction among which Judy was startled to discover a copy of "The Gulag Archipelago." Who says the corrections bureaucracy is humorless?
For those of you who want to write, her address is as follows:
Attn: Judith Miller
Inmate Number 45570083
Alexandria Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
I'll try to keep you posted on her circumstances. And, again, she is immensely grateful for your letters and your encouragement.