US Marijuana Party

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Prison leaders decry 'culture of viciousness'

By Peter Reuell
Milford Daily News

(MA) - Guards in Bay State prisons have been disciplined more than 1,200 times in the last five years for offenses ranging from tardiness to having sex with prisoners, a Daily News examination of state records shows.

In an interview with Daily News, DOC Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy called improving the culture of the department a priority, and pledged to square off against the minority of guards accused of bad behavior. "We are committed to dealing with the small percentage of the work force that causes problems," said Dennehy, who took over the department nearly a year ago.

"We are trying to break their culture," said Ron Duval, DOC associate commissioner for administration. "Their culture is it's all right to turn a blind eye when there's something wrong."

Dennehy's efforts, however, haven't won her many fans among guards.

"That is bulls---," Steve Kenneway, president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, said this week, of claims that the culture among guards needs to be changed. "That's the commissioner's fairy tale. "She wants everybody to believe there's this culture of viciousness among the staff," he said. "We recognize in a department of 5,000 people you are going to have people who break the rules...however, that doesn't translate into a culture of abuse."


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