GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- AstroTurf for captives' soccer games is still in storage. Nearly all the cages on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean are empty. Detainees spend 22 or more hours a day inside cells of steel and concrete.
Nearly a year after an uprising in a communal camp for "war on terrorism" captives in this remote U.S. naval base in southeast Cuba, most detainees live in maximum-security lockdown -- in windowless, fluorescent-lighted cells -- a stark contrast to four years of open-air camp confinement.
And lockdown life amounts to this: five prayer calls a day; three meals handed through a slot in the cell door; two hours, at most, of solo recreation inside a pen, with four other captives in adjoining chain-link cages, and a once-a-week cell-door visit from a library cart.
Commanders have largely shelved an earlier vision of prisoner-of-war living that would have accommodated up to 400 captives deemed cooperative: bunkhouse-style sleeping, group meals, prayer -- and sports.
Today, fewer than 40 Afghans and Arabs are offered perks such as planting a tomato garden or small classes with a military-approved language tutor.
Instead, the vast majority of the 385 "enemy combatants" are living in structures modeled after U.S. prisons.
Guantánamo commanders contend that the prisoners -- while whiling away the hours in sultry, open-air cells -- were more easily able to conspire.
The turning point toward single-occupancy lockdown conditions came a year ago, the most violent period the prison camps had ever seen.
On May 18, two captives were found unconscious in their open-air cells, attempting suicide from prescription drugs hoarded by other detainees. Later that day, dozens of detainees in minimum-security quarters ripped metal out of their communal bunkhouse three camps away and attacked guards.
No one was seriously hurt, but on June 10 guards spotted three Arabs simultaneously hanging in their cells from improvised nooses -- apparent suicides that the prison camps commander, Rear Adm. Harry Harris, declared "asymmetric warfare."
Lawyers said the bunkhouse brawl was triggered by a source of repeated unrest across all five years -- speculation that guards would search their holy Korans, this time for hidden drugs.
Harris and intelligence officials cast it as a wake-up call to a dormant, conspiring and secret leadership bent on embarrassing the U.S. military, which boasts safe, humane and transparent conditions at the site.
"No matter what we do for them, they don't appreciate it, " said an Arab named Zaki, the U.S. military's cultural advisor.
"It's a jail, a detention facility. What do you expect? To give them a key to their own cell?" he added.
Amnesty International and detainees' attorneys liken the indoor, single-cell accommodations to solitary confinement, isolation they allege is causing many to go stir-crazy in what amounts to super-max conditions.
Moreover, they complain, an ever-evolving legal and detention framework allowing for indefinite detention without ever being tried, or convicted, compounds detainee despair.
But a Navy psychologist who goes by "Dr. Jay" counters that Guantánamo detainees are, overall, a mentally sound, motivated population typical of people with strong religious identities. It's an assessment that stands in sharp contrast to Amnesty's and attorneys' portrayals of a population steadily going insane.