After yesterday’s writeup of the bizarre media blitz about how outrageous it is for federal prisoners to get holiday meals, reader and Twitter user Mr_Aerospace pointed out, correctly, that a vital part of the story about the story was missing. Both the bad steak-dinner coverage and the righteous responses to the badness of the steak-dinner coverage, like the one here, allowed the news to move away from a congressional report last week that concluded that in the Bureau of Prisons, “senior leadership misconduct appears to be largely tolerated or ignored altogether.”
Though the report’s conclusions focused on the impunity of wardens and other prison officials, it devoted two full pages to case studies of institutional misconduct at “a southern BOP facility,” which had paid out $20 million to settle a lawsuit from women who worked there, who said the prison had “allowed inmates to sexually harass them without consequence.”
That Southern facility was Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, whose guards’ union president was the main source of the complaints about the holiday meals—including what he said was the text of prisoners’ private messages, which he shared with the press. Among the inmates who harassed employees there was the once-fugitive South Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger, whose time at Coleman reportedly included “masturbating in front of a male staff member” and “threatening a female medical staff member,” before he was sent to another federal prison where inmates were somehow allowed to beat him to death in his wheelchair.