MA Allows First-Degree Murderers To Visit Ill Kin


The Massachusetts Department of Correction has allowed 22 murderers to leave state prisons to visit family members in the hospital or attend funerals this year, the Boston Herald reports. The killers – 10 convicted of first-degree murder and 12 of second-degree murder – each were handcuffed, shackled, and escorted by two armed correction officers – a practice that sparked concerns among correction professionals and victims' advocates. “I just don't think taxpayers should have to pay for extras for prisoners,” said Judy Hartnett, whose 21-year-old daughter was murdered in 1993. “If the state wants to let them go to a funeral accompanied by two guards, we shouldn't have to pay for it.” Guards agree. “If a first-degree lifer is doing life without parole, that should mean something,” said Steve Kenneway, president of the Massachusetts Corrections Officers Federated Union. “Lifers know that if (their) mother or father is ill, they have an opportunity to get out. That gives them all the time in the world to do nothing more than plan an escape.”

In the past month, high-profile inmate escapes have rattled communities across the nation, including last week’s escape of a murderer from an Iowa maximum-security penitentiary; the escape by a murderer and a kidnapper from a maximum-security South Carolina prison; and the escape by a Texan death-row inmate. Deputy state correction commissioner James Bender said the law allows all inmates to visit dying parents, siblings or guardians and to attend their funerals. He said, “Moving inmates is something that we are real good at. We practice it all the time.”


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