During a media tour Thursday of Fort Leavenworth prison, Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, without referring to Manning specifically, said inmates who were considered a danger to themselves or others would not be placed with the general prison population.
Manning's attorney and supporters called the conditions inhumane and needlessly harsh, and Amnesty International said Manning's treatment may violate his human rights.
Jeff Paterson, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, said Thursday he was "heartened" by the news that Manning's conditions were improving.
"In my opinion, there was never an issue of Bradley and suicide. It was Quantico using it as justification for holding him under extreme conditions," Paterson said. "All of (the treatment) is based on the suicide issue, but it's not backed up by a single psychiatrist. It's definitely a very good sign."
Manning's new 80 sq.-foot cell has a single, metal bunk, one window, a desk, sink and stool. He is allowed to exercise in the cell and interact with about 10 other pre-trial inmates in a common area, except for during the "lights out" period overnight. He is allowed to eat and exercise with others awaiting trial.
While he can receive unlimited mail, he is only allowed to keep 20 pieces at one time. Manning also can use the library and have visitors under the supervision of guards, and cameras and microphones throughout the prison monitor activities.
Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, confidential State Department cables and a classified military video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver.
His transfer to Leavenworth came a bit more than a week after a U.N. torture investigator, Juan Mendez, complained that he was denied a request to make an unmonitored visit to Manning. Pentagon officials said he could meet with Manning, but it is customary to give only the detainee's lawyer confidential visits.
Mendez said a monitored conversation would be counter to the practice of his U.N. mandate.
A few days later, a committee of Germany's parliament protested about Manning's treatment to the White House.
The Army gave the media an unusual glimpse of life inside a military prison to combat the allegations that Manning was being mistreated.
"We don't anticipate doing this again. It is highly unusual that we allow media into a correctional facility run by the Department of Defense," said Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman who traveled to answer questions on the tour. "Then again, we think it's important that the public understand the conditions of confinement here."
Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches law at Yale and heads the National Institute of Military Justice in Washington, said he thinks the media tour is a positive step.
"Frankly, the military confinement and correction system has been very little studied," Fidell said. "I've long thought it's overdue for more scrutiny. Anything that sheds light will help allay concerns among the public and let people move onto more substantial matters."
The prison has about 150 inmates. It opened in October 2010, consolidating operations from Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Knox, Ky.