Looking to bring order to unruly encounters

The Telegram & Gazette
November 13, 2018
By Prithvi Tikhe

BOSTON – The lack of uniform standardized procedures across the state to remove prisoners from cells may contribute to incidents of excessive use of force at a number of Massachusetts prisons and houses of correction, according to a state lawmaker who has called for the creation of standards to avoid incidents.

“We want all prisoners and inmates to be treated well and with dignity because we know those same folks will be returning to our neighborhoods within Worcester,” said state Rep. Mary S. Keefe, D-Worcester, who introduced a bill last year that would require the commissioner of the Department of Correction to create uniform standards for emergency and planned cell extractions (removing inmates from cells) and governing the use of chemical agents between state prisons and county jails and houses of correction in Massachusetts.

According to data for the last two years, from Nov. 11, 2016, to Nov. 13, 2018, there were 13 reports of excessive use of force at Worcester County House of Correction, according to Jesse White, a staff attorney for the Prison Brutality Project of Prisoners’ Legal Services.

“This makes Worcester County the fourth highest county in the state for reported excessive use of force, after Suffolk County and Bristol County, each of which have had 19 reports, and Essex County, which had 14 reports,” Ms. White said.


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