Note: This correspondence is in accordance with BOP Policy and protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
By now the whole world has heard about the death of James “Whitey” Bulger, here at USP Hazelton. According to BOP documents, and news reports, the suspected killer is one Fotios “Freddy” Geas, a reputed mafia hitman from West Spring, Massachusetts.
I knew Freddy. I once tried to help him with his Section 2255 post-conviction petition. His was an extremely complicated RICO case, and the mafia bosses who allegedly hired him were the same people who cooperated and testified against him at trial. The 2255 appeals petition was not successful, and Freddy, resigned to accept his fate, had no expectations or hopes of ever overturning his life sentence.
Contrary to the image of a heartless brutal killer portrayed by the courts and the government, under civil circumstances, Freddy was a well rounded person who was tremendously respectful towards others. He worked in the recreation department, helping to maintain the yard area, and he could often be seen learning how to work on model planes and helping others do the same in the hobby shop. If you were a respectable person, you could find a friend for life in Freddy, and if he could, he would help you in whatever way possible.
Unfortunately, in prison, some people believe that being your “friend” translates to being allowed to take advantage of a person and abuse that “friendship. Despite his calm respectable demeanor, Freddy was a no non-sense kind of guy, and everyone knew it. I personally never had any problems with Freddy, nor did I have reason to fear him, even if some people did consider him to be a ruthless killer. I always enjoyed our little discussions and some of our brief encounters. Talking with him about his appeals allowed me to get a rare glimpse of the real man.
Being a prisoner myself, and also being convicted of some horrible crimes, I am in a position, mentally, philosophically, and emotionally to see the human side of prisoners that the public never sees, or doesn’t care to see. People are not usually inherently bad. We unfortunately learn to become that way. In most of us, there’s a true sense of humanity underneath the gruff exterior.
If court documents are to be believed, Freddy was raised in a rough part of Massachusetts during a time when powerful mafia families ruled. A particular culture is perpetrated in such environments. Freddy would grow to become part of that culture. Being hired out by powerful mafia bosses became a natural part of Freddy’s life, a job akin to exterminating rodents from a house. This was part of who Freddy was, but not the sum total of the man.
Although no one is particularly sad about the death of James “White” Bulger, a well know FBI informant, the lives of the prisoners caught up in this fiasco will be eternally changed. Even as lifers, prisoners often attempt to build some semblance of a normal existence. This will not be the case any time soon for Freddy.
And for this, the blame lays at the feet of the administration here at USP Hazelton.
Since his incarceration, the 89-year-old Bulger had gained a reputation for being a troublesome inmate. It’s been reported that he was caught masterbating in front of a female officer and that he even threatened a female medical staff member while at USP Coleman in Florida.
Bulger suffered from numerous health problems. He was in a wheelchair and struggled with heart trouble. But after he threatened the female medical staff member by saying that her “day of reckoning is coming,” Bulger was placed in the hole. That was in February of 2018. In October of 2018, he was finally transferred from the hole in USP Coleman to FTC Oklahoma, a federal transit holding facility. According to reports, Bulger was transferred to USP Hazelton because his “medical treatment was complete,” not because of any “disciplinary reasons.:
Sure. If they say so.
If Bulger’s medical troubles were so well documented, why on earth would he be transferred to USP Hazleton; a prison with the reputation of being one of the most “violent” prisons in America? The more pressing question is why the hell did Hazelton administrations allow him to be sent out to the open compound?
Although an institution doesn’t have any discretion as to who arrives at the prison, the administration does have discretion as to who is permitted to go out to the compound. When a transit bus full of prisoners arrives at an institution the prisoners are subjected to a screening process. Various staff are assigned from different departments to help process new arrivals. This screening takes hours and normally runs late into the evening, after 9 or 10 p.m.
Medical staff must collect medical files on new arrivals, conduct initial interviews with them, and make a preliminary assessment of their medical needs. Other staff members, such as unit counselors, are required to ask a series of questions, in private, for each new arrival. The purpose of these questions is to assess whether or not an inmate can be placed on the compound safely.
Prisoners are asked questions such as, “Where are you from? Who do you run with?,” “Have you ever cooperated with law enforcement?,” “Have you ever testified during trial on behalf of the government?,” “Do you have any reason why you believe you can’t go out to this compound?,” and “Would you want to work with SIS” (Special Investigative Services)?
These questions are meant to elicit responses that would help staff make their assessment. Most prisoners answer “NO” to each of these questions. Therefore, an assessment normally results in a prisoner being placed on the compound. Whatever trouble he may find himself in later is on him.
But Bulger was a completely different story. He presumably answered “No” to all the questions, however, the entire world knows he cooperated with the FBI. So, how could any official accept his “No” responses to that question? Moreover, although screening is conducted by various staff, SIS, who is the BOP equivalent to the FBI Investigators, is very much involved with the process. They certainly know who’s who, and they have the authority to refuse to allow a person onto the compound, and place him in administrative segregation (the hole) if they believe that that person’s presence would pose a security risk.
It’s impossible for SIS to have missed the security risk Bulger’s presence on the compound would pose.
And the Warden? Oh! Of course he knows who’s coming to his compound. The name James “White” Bulger rings bells, and there’s absolutely no possible way that the warden of USP Hazelton was not informed that Bulger was coming to town. A well known FBI informant who has had books and movies created about his life makes for a loud security assessment.
The administration also knew very well the culture and belief system of this particular prison population. The population at large lives by an unspoken, unwritten code that snitches cannot live here, and are not safe. Informants are not welcome, which is the common sentiment of the entire prison population, state and federal, nationwide. Freddy Geas is not the only one who “has a particular distaste for cooperators. ‘ At least, that is, in regards to the penitentiary level.
Simply put, officials at USP Hazelton knew who Bulger was. They knew the culture and belief system of this population regarding cooperators. And they knew his presence here would pose a security risk.
To further compound the problem, Freddy Geas, a convicted mafia hitman from Massachusetts, Bulger’s stomping grounds, was housed on the F-1 Housing Unit. On October 29, 2018, after the routine 9 p.m. lockdown for the night, Bulger was placed on F-1 Unit, the very same unit where Geas, a mafia hitman (again), was housed.
What were they thinking?
Because the institution was locked down for that night, no action could be taken. But I can assure you that news of Bulger’s presence on the unit spread like wildfire, and that this news weighed heavily on the minds of some.
By 8:20 a.m. Tuesday morning, October 30, 2018, Bulger was found dead.
Was this coincidence? Was it incompetence? Was it criminal negligence? Or was it something much more nefarious?
Whatever this was, the administration is clearly to blame. Because of their negligence, for whatever reason, two lives have been completely turned upside down, and one life, albeit un-missed, was lost.
So, now armed with some insight from the inside, I must ask you, who killed “Whitey” Bulger?