At a time of record deficits, a new soccer field for detainees at Camp 6 in Guantanamo Bay is just getting the finishing touches -- at a cost of $750,000 to taxpayers.
The project was the highlight of a tour Tuesday of the detention camp for reporters at the facility covering the arraignment in a military court of Majid Khan, a former Baltimore resident and the the only legal U.S. resident on trial at Guantanamo.
The project began in April 2011 and is due to finish this spring. The detainees will now have three recreation facilities at Camp 6, which is home to "highly compliant" detainees who live in a communal setting.
In addition to an indoor recreation field and the existing outdoor recreation field, the new soccer field -- selected because it is such a popular sport with detainees -- is half the size of an American football field.
The new field has been specially constructed so that the detainees "have maximum access" -- about 20 hours a day. Special passageways allow the detainees to pass into the new recreation yard without being escorted by the military.
On the tour, a military police representative who asked not to be identified by name said allowing high levels of activity outdoors helped reduce behavioral problems at the camps, and it also limited the amount of interaction between detainees and the guards.