Massachusetts prison guards called for the ouster of the state correction commissioner yesterday after reports that lifers gathered with family and friends for a sanctioned event that critics say violates no-party rules, says the Boston Herald. The president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union said a Herald story on the Feb. 26 event at MCI-Norfolk shows Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy must go. “The Massachusetts prison system has become a national embarrassment under your watch,” president Steve Kenneway wrote Gov. Mitt Romney. “Dennehy’s) tenure must end.” Kenneway said a recent poll of union guards showed 99 percent lack confidence in Dennehy’s leadership.
Convicted killers partied with friends and family over cookies and juice. One inmate at the event, James Cyr, was convicted of stabbing 21-year-old Tara Hartnett of South Boston and setting her body on fire in 1993. Dennehy defended a new rule allowing prison parties so long as three top department officials give approval. That policy was criticized by victims’ families. “For reasons of productive programming for inmates and breaking the cycle of violence, the commissioner feels that the policy the DOC enacted a few months ago is appropriate,” said a spokeswoman for Dennehy.