The inmate at Massachusetts’ Norfolk Prison who blew the whistle on a sex-for-information ring operated by guards (as reported here last week) has been placed in the hole. Timothy Muise, an activist with the Lifers Group inside the prison, said in a letter that he had been visited by Assistant Deputy Commissioner Paul DiPaolo, the state official in charge of stopping rape in prisons, who told Muise he was looking into the allegations. When asked about the investigation, the Massachusetts DOC spokesperson said she could not comment one way or another about any investigation, and when Solitary Watch requested an interview with DiPaolo it was denied.
In a subsequent letter, dated November 7, Muise additionally said a Department of Corrections senior investigator had been in the prison for three consecutive days investigating the sex-for-snitching allegations. Then, last Saturday, November 13, Muise phoned friends to tell them he had been taken to solitary confinement. The reasons for putting him in the hole are unclear. According to one story, he was placed there because he had received a letter containing the Solitary Watch blog post on the sex ring. Another story has it that Muise was organizing a protest over the ring, involving people both inside and outside the prison. He told friends he expects to be disciplined, but doesn’t know how. Muise might be sent to a maximum security prison or have his activities restricted at Norfolk. He has told his family he is being treated in a professional manner and is in good shape. A prison spokeswoman said the Department of Corrections would have no comment.
Muise believes the existence of this hitherto unknown operation is responsible for the state’s high number of prison suicides. The inmate suicide rate in Massachusetts is four times the national average, with eight suicides this year alone–including one in June at MCI-Norfolk, the state’s largest medium-security prison, which also had two high-profile suicides last year.
In his original letter to Solitary Watch, Muise wrote::
Abusive and sadistic guards move weak and vulnerable prisoners into housing units they oversee and manipulate them into engaging in sexual activity with each other (many of these men are homosexuals, sex offenders and men with mental health histories) and then they [the guards] force them to become informants under the threat of revealing their secrets to the general population.