Norton Says Reports of ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Death at BOP’s Hazelton Prison Heighten Her Request for IG Investigation into Prisoner Conditions, Calls for Removal of D.C. Inmates from Facility

Oct 30, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said reports that James “Whitey” Bulger was killed at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Hazelton facility in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, points up the urgency of her request for a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) investigation into alleged appalling conditions inmates are facing there.  Earlier this month, Norton wrote to DOJ IG Michael Horwitz requesting that he open a formal investigation.  Two inmates from the District of Columbia died at Hazelton during violent altercations this past year alone amid reports of brutal treatment of others.  After reports of Bulger’s death, Norton today called for the removal of all D.C. Code felons from the Hazelton facility.  Hazelton houses inmates who have committed federal crimes, but D.C. Code felons are the only local felons housed by BOP.  As of October 9, 2018, there were 501 D.C. Code felons at Hazelton.

“Today’s reports of another inmate death at Hazelton heighten the need for an IG investigation into the operations and prisoner conditions at this federal prison,” Norton said.  “The two other killings at Hazelton earlier this year were of inmates from the District.  Based on reports from my constituents who are housed at Hazelton and their relatives, there appears to be a serious shortage of staffing and other resources, leaving prisoners and guards vulnerable to attacks.  James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s death, which occurred one day after he was transferred to Hazelton, underscores reports of a culture of violence at Hazelton and the need for the Inspector General to begin an investigation immediately.”