A prisoner at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Norfolk recently wrote to me to report the existence of a "sex for information’’ ring run by guards within the prison. He says the existence of this hitherto unknown operation is responsible for the state’s high number of prison suicides. The inmate suicide rate in Massachusetts is four times the national average, with eight suicides this year alone--including one in June at MCI-Norfolk, the state's largest medium-security prison, which also had two high-profile suicides last year.
The prisoner, who says he has become the advocate for others too frightened of retaliation to talk, himself fears retaliation from within the prison. He has reported the ring at MCI-Norfolk to the Massachusetts Department of corrections and has, he says, already been interviewed by Assistant Deputy Commissioner Paul DiPaolo, the state official in charge of stopping rape in the prisons. In granting this interview, the corrections hierarchy is bypassing lower-down officials within the prison, according to the prisoner. Each prison has an official responsible for rape suppression.
In a letter the prisoner, who chose to remain anonymous over concerns for his own safety, wrote:
Abusive and sadistic guards move weak and vulnerable prisoners into housing units they oversee and manipulate them into engaging in sexual activity with each other (many of these men are homosexuals, sex offenders and men with mental health histories) and then they [the guards] force them to become informants under the threat of revealing their secrets to the general population.