Following the assassination of Whitey Bulger in a federal jail in West Virginia, Prison Bureau officials say the high-profile gangster should never have been transferred there.
Hazelton, the US penitentiary institution, where Bulger was sent on October 29 and found dead the following morning, is considered one of the most dangerous federal prisons in the country, accusing many of the population that does not have sufficient resources and the prison population.
Bulger, 89, in a wheelchair, was hit by death by his colleagues, officials told HuffPost. Numerous news agencies reported that Photius "Freddy" Geas, who has mobile phone ties, is one of the suspects. Bulger's reputation, informant status, advanced age and health issues made him a vulnerable target, four prison staff officials said.
"I do not know who chose Hazelton – it's one of our most violent institutions," said Joe Rojas, president of trade union staff at Coleman, a correctional institution in Sumter County, Florida. Bulger was imprisoned at Coleman for four years until his transfer to the Oklahoma Federal Transportation Center on October 23 and his subsequent arrival at Hazelton.
"This is the last place you want to send a high-profile prisoner," Rojas told Hazelton.
"His mission is like a death penalty. It's like going to death," he added.
The administration is directly responsible for Whitey Bulger. You can not run the prisons with the cheap, and that's what we have – the executive staff running prisons with the cheap.
Eric Young, National President of the Prison Council
Rick Heldreth, president of the Hazelton Prisoner Syndicate, reported two more murders and estimates there were over 200 violent incidents in the unit so far this year. He said he thinks that violence is only getting worse due to lack of staff.
Just five days before the death of Bulger, lawmakers, including Senator Joe Manchin (DW), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the staffing issues of Hazelton and other federal jails in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. They had worrying worries about Hazelton for the past year, according to Eric Young, the National President of the Prison Council.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the attorney-at-law of the Congress for Washington DC, also requested an investigation earlier this month in unsafe conditions in Hazelton.
Bulger is the result of staffing problems, "Young said. "Unfortunately, I really believe due to staff shortages officers can not be everywhere they have to be. And the result is a dead prisoner."
Based on documents reviewed by HuffPost, Bulger was disciplined at Coleman before his transfer to threaten an employee this spring. But BOP officials said they did not know why they were eventually transferred.
The Prison Bureau does not immediately return HuffPost's request for comments.
Coleman, unlike Hazelton, is known to be in the "triangle" of safe prisons for someone like Bulger, Rojas said. He explained that Coleman and the American prisoners in Terre Haute, Indiana and Tucson, Arizona – where Bulger lived before his transfer four years ago to Coleman – are considered prisoners "prisoners" who provide a safe environment for people who can to be targets in an ordinary prison – posts for "snitches, for high-level prisoners, and for people leaving gangs," said Rojas.
Bulger could be considered all three: he served as an informant of the FBI, was on the list of ten most sought-after and was informed of gangs.
It is ridiculous that even one could even think of Bulger's mission to Hasselton from a prison such as Coleman's triangle, a correctional officer who worked in two prisons and asked for anonymity to protect his job, he told HuffPost.
"Our yard is a very violent yard," said Heldreth for Hazelton. "Why it came to the general population, given its history … Obviously, the organization knows the kind of prisoners hosted in this facility and their background. It's very strange."
"What kills me does not surprise me either, due to the lack of staffing [at Hazelton] "The old saying is that the sniquins get stitches and end up in trenches." I guarantee that whoever killed him is a huge badge to get him out. "
While no one knows why Bulger was transferred, Rojas believes it could have been the friction between the prisoner and a female supervisor. According to Rojas, Bulger told the supervisor this spring: "The day of your confrontation is coming."
Prison documents (shared with HuffPost an employee who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs) confirm that Bulger was sentenced to 30 days in isolation for threatening staff. These documents showed that Bulger remained in a special residence – where he only gained one hour of hours and lost all his privileges – for six months until he was transferred.
But this leaves unanswered the questions. According to Rojas, a prisoner will usually be sent to his normal home just after 30 days of going. And nothing explains why Bulger is sent to Hazelton after a long time in the special home.
The old saying goes that "the canines get stitches and end up in trenches." I guarantee that whoever killed him is a huge badge to take him out.
Correctional officer requesting anonymity
All Prison Office employees interviewed by HuffPost also accused of violence for continuing staff shortages in Hazelton – and federal prisons across the country.
The Trump administration is currently trying to reduce up to 14% of prison jobs across the BOP – about 6,000 jobs – many of which were already empty. Cutting jobs places over staff reduction, Young and other employees said HuffPost. These staff shortages mean that teachers and other prison staff are required to perform the responsibilities of the prison officers, New York Times for the first time in the summer.
"We have a serious problem and it's not just Hazelton – that's the whole system," Young says. "The administration is directly responsible for Whitey Bulger. You can not run the prisons with the cheap and that's what we have – the executive staff running prisons with the cheap."
Hazelton is down 77 seats, 42 of them for correctional officers, Hazelton chairman Heldreth Association said HuffPost. Heldreth believes that staffing issues are responsible for increasing violence. Since the facility opened in 2004, he said, the prison was usually an average of one murder per year, not three. And violent incidents are now happening almost daily.
"It is worse and worse," said Heldreth. More staff would mean more surveillance, more checks for detainees, more likely to stop attacks or seize smuggling. "I do not want to see anyone else die".
What exactly do young people think if staff levels change.
"I can almost guarantee before we return the New Year, there will be other people who will kill that place," he said. "We've never had these many foodmen killed in such a short time."
Heldreth says an employee told him that staffing levels should return to 100 percent after Bulger's murder, but says he has heard that before.
"I'll believe it when I see it," he told HuffPost. "I hope this will have an impact on them and they will be ashamed of them [doing what] we must do. "
Do you have a tip? Get to Lauren Weber at [email protected]