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DOJ IG Cites Prison Bureau Missteps Involved In 'Whitey' Bulger Death

Inmates at the West Virginia federal prison where James "Whitey" Bulger was killed hours after arriving knew ahead of time that the convicted mob boss was being transferred there and were taking bets on how long he would survive, says a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general, reports NPR. Bulger, who led Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang and was serving two consecutive life sentences, was found dead in his cell at the Hazelton federal prison within12 hours after he arrived in October 2018. His killing prompted questions about the circumstances of his death and the federal Bureau of Prison's handling of his transfer from another lockup in Florida. Of particular concern was the decision to place Bulger, who was 89, in poor health and a notorious FBI informant, with the prison's general population.


The inspector general did not find that BOP employees acted improperly or with malicious intent, but the watchdog did find that the BOP committed a string of missteps. The IG referred at least six BOP employees for disciplinary actions. In 2018, Bulger was serving his sentence at the Coleman federal lockup in Florida. After Bulger allegedly threatened a nurse there, Coleman officials arrange to transfer him. More than 100 BOP officials knew of Bulger's impending move, and agency personnel spoke openly about it within earshot of inmates, which violated BOP policy and put Bulger in danger, the report said. The large number of officials with knowledge of Bulger's impending transfer made it impossible to determine which BOP employees were responsible for leaking news of his arrival. Several inmates on Bulger's compound were in the Genovese Crime Family, which an inmate said had a "beef" with Bulger. Three inmates, including a Mafia hitman, are facing federal charges in Bulger's death.

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