Bomber Rudolph bemoans prison conditions

From the AP

FLORENCE, Colo. — Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph laments in a series of letters to a newspaper that the maximum-security federal prison where he is spending the rest of his life is designed to drive him insane.

"It is a closed-off world designed to isolate inmates from social and environmental stimuli, with the ultimate purpose of causing mental illness and chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis," he wrote in one letter to The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

Rudolph wrote that he spends 23 hours a day in his 7-by-12-foot cell, his only exercise confined to an enclosed area he described as a "large empty swimming pool" divided into "dog-kennel style cages."

"Using solitary confinement, Supermax is designed to inflict as much misery and pain as is constitutionally permissible," he wrote in a letter.

One of Rudolph’s victims had no sympathy for him.

"It gives me a great deal of pride to think he’s never coming out of there," said Diane Derzis, who runs a Birmingham, Ala., women’s clinic Rudolph bombed in 1998. "He should never see daylight again."

The newspaper reported in its Sunday editions that it has corresponded by mail with Rudolph for more than a year, and prison officials have refused the paper’s request to interview Rudolph.

The Gazette refused Rudolph’s request that it publish his writings in their entirety. The newspaper said if it published articles, it would print portions of the letters as long as they were not hate literature or libelous.

Rudolph, an anti-government extremist, pleaded guilty in April 2005 to setting the bomb that killed one person and wounded more than 100 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and three other bombings, including a fatal explosion at a Birmingham clinic.

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