Governor Baker defends state prison system, now under federal investigation

May 24th, 2019

The Boston Globe
May 24, 2019
By Matt Stout

Governor Charlie Baker defended the state’s prison system Friday amid revelations it’s now under federal investigation, saying he has no concerns about its operations.

Baker, whose administration oversees the Department of Correction and its nearly 8,800 inmates, indicated the investigation has been active for some time. He didn’t specify how long, nor has the agency commented on the specifics of the inquiry.

The probe, launched by the civil rights unit of the US attorney’s office in Massachusetts, is focused on reports of mistreatment of inmates in order to identify potential patterns and practices of abuse, the Globe reported Thursday. Lawyers who have been interviewed by federal investigators said they have provided documents alleging abuse of inmates who are 50 and older, inmates who are terminally ill, and prisoners who have spent months, even years, in isolation.

Elizabeth Matos, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, said Baker’s assertion that the department as a whole has complied with legal rulings and laws doesn’t mean there aren’t violations happening within the system.

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