By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The Cleveland man sentenced to life in prison for the abduction, rape and torture of three women, was moved to a prison in southern Ohio where he will be isolated from other inmates for his own protection and to "maintain order," a prison spokeswoman said on Friday.
Ariel Castro, 53, was transferred on Monday to a processing facility in Orient, Ohio, where he will undergo a series of mental and physical assessments, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.
"Inmate Castro had been segregated from the general population. He has no interaction with other inmates at this time," Smith said.
This means that Castro will be in a cell for 23 hours of the day, with one hour out of the cell for recreation but separated from other inmates, she said.
"It is not uncommon for an inmate with a high profile case to be put in protective custody," said Smith. "There are two reasons for this - to maintain order in the institution and to keep the inmate safe."
Castro held Michelle Knight, now 32, Gina DeJesus, now 23 and Amanda Berry, now 27, captive in his dark, fortress-like house in Cleveland for nine to 11 years.
The women were freed on May 6, when Berry was able to break open a door with the help of neighbors. Also rescued with them was Berry's 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro during captivity.
The abuse the women endured over about a decade was so extreme that a judge sentenced Castro to life in prison plus 1,000 years, after he pleaded guilty to 937 charges including aggravated murder for starving and beating Knight to cause her to miscarry during pregnancy.
Castro showed no remorse at his sentencing hearing last week, arguing with the judge and blaming his actions on a sex and porn addiction.
The decision to keep Castro segregated was made by prison authorities due to the notoriety of his case, prison officials said.
Castro will be permitted visitors as soon as next week. Court records showed that only his mother and sister visited him when he was imprisoned prior to the sentencing.
The house where the three women were imprisoned was demolished on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Greg McCune and Leslie Gevirtz)