The high-security Federal Correctional Institution at Hazelton, West Virginia, site of the October 30 killing of former Boston gang boss James "Whitey" Bulger, has been closed to visitors.
The prison's website contains a brief and unexplained notice: "All visiting at this facility has been suspended until further notice."
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has not explained whether the visitation shutdown is related to Bulger's killing and has not indicated when the suspension will be lifted.
While media reports have indicated that Bulger was choked and beaten to death by at least two Mafia-connected inmates from Massachusetts (and have provided specific identifications of those inmates), there has been little in the way of official news on the subject.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts issued a brief "Tweet" on October 30:
We received word this morning about the death of James 'Whitey' Bulger. Our thoughts are with his victims and their families.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of West Virginia issued a two-sentence press release on October 31:
The United States Attorney's Office and the FBI are investigating the death of James Bulger as a homicide. To protect the integrity of the investigation, no further details will be released at this time.
He was sentenced five years ago after a summer 2013 trial in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a fugitive between 1995 and 2011. He was arrested in California in 2011. In the 1980s, while engaged in his own illegal activities, he secretly aided federal authorities in dismantling the Mafia organization in the Boston area.
The Hazelton facility houses 1,270 male inmates. It has experienced a string of violent attacks. Bulger's killing was reportedly the third homicide inside the facility in the past seven months.
An official of the guards union at the prison told the press that Hazelton is dangerously understaffed. He said the prison currently has seventy-seven job vacancies, with more than half of those for guard positions.
See earlier report: