Walpole State Prison: An Exercise in Torture

June 1, 1981

[Introduction written in 2006 in preparation for posting.]

This following report was submitted to Amnesty International (AI), International Secretariat, London, England by Massachusetts State Senator Jack Backman (D-Brookline). and Rose Viviano, Director, Families and Friends of Prisoners, Inc., Dorchester, Massachusetts.

In 1980-82, I served as a legislative aide for Senator Backman, Chair of the Massachusetts Legislative Committee On Human Services. My assignment included handling all issues, complaints and proposed legislation relating to prisons, mental health, and veterans.

Half of prison complaints originated from Walpole State Prison, which later changed its name to Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI) Cedar Junction at Walpole. I spent time virtually every week for a year investigating hundreds of prison brutality complaints, including several homicides. I documented the pattern of torture and summarized it in the cover letter below, signed by Backman and Viviano.

Sending the report to Amnesty International was thought necessary due to there being virtually no response from then-Governor Edward J. King, or his Corrections Commissioner, Michael V. Fair. AI was not considered by the authors of this report to be a body that seriously examined patterns of human rights abuse in the United States in relationship to other countries considered (rightly or wrongly) to possess more severe abuse patterns. Nonetheless, we did not know at the time where else to distribute this shocking report of torture other than to community groups in the Massachusetts and New England region.

Amnesty International’s 1982 Report included the following brief item in response to our report identifying a pattern of systematic use of torture in Massachusetts: "On 21 August [1981] Amnesty International wrote to Governor Edward J. King of Massachusetts about allegations that prisoners in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Walpole had been ill-treated over a period of several years. On 6 March prisoners were allegedly clubbed, beaten, kicked and tear-gassed at close range. In his reply of 18 September Governor King stated that: ‘any allegation of wrongdoing, in any state correctional facility, is immediately investigated by the Commissioner of Corrections.’ Regarding the incident at Walpole he stated: ‘full reports and videotapes have been forwarded to the Attorney General and District Attorney. Should they discover any wrongdoing, appropriate remedial action will be taken. To date, no discovery or opinion has come forth.’"

Note that AI does not mention "torture," but "ill-treatment," a term that carries no specific treaty or statutory definitions. In the Spring of 1981 I received a series of phone calls in the middle of the night warning me to lay off my investigations at Walpole. The callers, of course, never identified themselves but I speculated they were initiated or prompted by prison guard union representatives who feared consequences from anticipated conclusions in the investigative report I was likely to prepare. Certainly there was guard behavior that amounted to assault and battery, conspiracy to harm and injure, and homicide. Since neither state executive officials, nor members of the Massachusetts legislature of which Senator Backman was a distinguished member, took any action in response to our report, no known remedial action against guards or their superiors, or any other employee of the state, was ever taken.

Shortly after completion of the report in early June 1981, I took a temporary leave of absence as a personal safety precaution.


June 9, 1981

This letter with attached appendices attempts to document a clear pattern and history of systematic torture at the Massachusetts "Correctional" institution at Walpole. It will also detail the practice of shipping prisoners out to facilities within other states and the Federal government located hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, i.e., exiling those who it appears have created the most "political" problems for prison officials.

It should be noted here that these practices, especially torture, have been utilized for years, long before the most recent complaints about prison overcrowding. Formal complaints about Walpole practices for many years have been and continue to be addressed to numerous executive officials but the pattern goes on and on. We additionally seek now to highlight this pattern of abuse beyond the borders of Massachusetts. We hope that this information will be considered useful to your organization in seriously considering an investigation into both the practices of torture at and exile from Walpole prison.

Walpole is the maximum security prison for the state of Massachusetts. There are currently about 680 men imprisoned there in 13 cellblocks. Block 10 (and its various annexes) comprises the notorious Departmental Segregation Unit (DSU) where many, but by no means all, of the allegations of torture and abuse of prisoners by guards originate. As one could guess, Block 10 is where prisoners are house for various periods of time, sometimes for years, because the administration has determined that these people have acted in a manner threatening to the order of Walpole or other state prisons. Their placement therein, however, is not just for the protection of other staff or prisoners. They are sent there for punishment.

Examination of the process by which men are sent to Block 10 reveals that some have investigations pending and others have been found by the institutional disciplinary board to have violated prison rules or criminal laws. In fact, the behavior of some of the men prior to their transfer to Block 10 could be characterized by participation as leaders in nonviolent protests of prison conditions, of racist and vindictive staff attitudes, and of abusive behavior on the part of guards. These protests have been in the form of hunger strikes, work stoppages, peaceful demonstrations and silence. Since Walpole is operated significantly through the promotion by the administration of inmate informants, much of the evidence used by officials to isolate men in Block 10 is based on unchallenged, anonymous informant tips.

Once in Block 10 or its annexes, the behavioral modification milieu imposed by officials becomes incredulous. The men start in the lower-left tier where there is extreme deprivation of "privileges" and comfort, and imposition of various harassment and punitive techniques. The men frequently counter with hunger strikes, silence or refusal to leave their cells when requested to comply with arbitrarily imposed rectal searches. When they attempt to discuss their plight and general conditions with prison officials, media, public officials and community groups, they are frequently treated to increased punitive responses by officials. Some write legal writs which tends to bring further punishment.

The punishing behavior of the guards, as alleged voluminously by prisoners, could be described in four categories: withholding of fundamental rights or privileges, imposition of hazards, physical beatings and intentional psychological abuse.


Withholding of Fundamental Rights of "Privileges"

Visitation with family; access to law library; possession of cosmetic items (including toilet paper); availability of water, heat, lights; access to healthy diet; availability of television; provision of clothes, beds and bedding and winter coats; provisions of writing materials and postage; access to medication and medical attention; access to incoming mail; provision of indoor and outdoor exercise; access to showers; among others.

Imposition of Hazards

Flooding cells; placing or allowing bugs and foreign matter into food; igniting clothes and bedding; destruction of personal property (including legal materials);
provision of too much or too little heat; arbitrary rectal searches; needless spraying of mace and tear gas; among others.

Physical Beatings

Consistent reports of physical abuse including, but not limited to, guards’ responses to refusals to comply with arbitrary rectal searches as well as prisoners’ participation in protests through hunger strikes, letters of complaint to media and public officials and filing litigation.

Intentional Psychological Abuse

Arbitrary shakedowns of cells; empty announcements of the presence of a visitor (later to be told that it was a joke); announcement of death threats; guards stating that they are having sexual relations with wives, mothers and girlfriends of prisoners; ordering the prisoners to lie face down before receiving food, legal material or other needs; among others.

The ultimate terror and controlling tactic at Walpole is the threat of shipment to a federal prison, hundreds, even as much as three thousand miles distant. Such exile effective stops the receipt of visits from loved ones and precludes any relationship with positive community resources, especially i preparation for parole and the ultimate return to such community. In 1980, there were 16 prisoners shipped to the federal prison system and at least 3 other prisoners were transferred to state prisons within other New England states. As of January, 1981, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction, there were 30 state prisoners in various federal institutions and approximately 42 in other New England states. The Department indicated in March their imminent intentions of transferring 20 more men, and in fact shipped three more in early May, 1981. Such exile policy also effectively diminishes or denies prisoners’ access to their attorneys and the courts as well as to legislative overseers and policymakers. Senator Backman has filed a bill this legislative season that, if passed into law, would prohibit any further use of exile policy into the federal system with the exception of the one federal facility located in New England.

The 5 appendices spell out the various evidentiary details supporting these allegations of torture and exile policy.

APPENDIX A describes a 4-year chronology of torture compiled by Senator Jack Backman’s office and a separate brief history of Walpole prison.

APPENDIX B identifies a number of very recent incidents of torture from Senator Backman’s files as well as excerpts from prisoners’ letters and actual disciplinary reports that reveal the cruelties of Walpole’s policies and practices.

APPENDIX C presents the "official" technique of Unit Management and a prisoner’s description of that behavioral modification technique employed at Walpole.

APPENDIX D documents the Department’s incredulous use of shipout/exile and its terrifying effects on prisoners and their families, and its effective blockage of the exercise of a number of constitutional rights.

APPENDIX E is comprised of a few selected photographs of block 10.

We are not necessarily claiming that Walpole poses a completely unique picture of torture and exile policy different from many of the other 7,000-plus American prisons and jails. We suspect that many of America’s heavily secure prisons impose similar routines of systematic torture. We do know that most states are now shipping some of their "undesirable management problems" to the federal prison system. But we do feel that we have enough evidence, just by its weight, to have revealed a factual, tragic pattern of torture and brutality at Walpole prison, topped off by the threat of exile. The latter procedure was banned in Anglo-Saxon legal tradition in 1679 with the passage of the English Habeas Corpus Act.

If Amnesty International determines that an investigation is appropriate and such inquiry proves substantial truth to the allegations, we would hope that you would be able to make comparisons with the prison practices of torture and exile of other countries of the world. We would also urge you to denounce these practices as inhumane and barbaric and plea for substantial corrective action.

If you have any further questions or feel the need for additional information, please feel free to contact us.


  1. Posted March 12, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    the shit hole need s to be shut down ,,, and the staff need to be jailed ,,my younger brother just got 20to life for a crime he did not comitt.. and he will never come out of that place alive

  2. Posted June 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Explosive New Crime Book Opens Up Old Massachusetts Prison Wounds
    Michael W. McKay’s ‘A Big House for Little Men’ uses the notorious Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts as an inspiration for a new high-octane thriller.

    Stay connected: Share Buzz up! RSS Feed

    (PRNewsChannel) / August 06, 2009 / Boston, Mass./ Murder, hit squads, and corruption; three crimes you’d think would be bigger problems outside of a prison instead of within its four walls. However, as Massachusetts residents know, that wasn’t the case in the 1970s. Riots at Walpole State Prison shook the Bay State in 1972. Several murders within the prison made headlines in 1978, and Walpole gained national notoriety when prisoners took guards hostage in 1979.

    Now, an explosive new crime book draws upon these turbulent events to spin a powerful story about how one young man took over a prison and became the most powerful criminal in Boston. Written by Boston native Michael W. McKay, A Big House for Little Men is a high-octane, plot twisting thriller McKay says is sure to strike a cord with longtime Massachusetts residents.

    “Anyone with Boston ties knows how bad things were in Massachusetts prisons in the ‘70s,” says McKay. “There were one or two murders a week, but what do you expect when you put psychopaths and sociopaths in the same place? Guards were scared to go to work, they were scared for their families, they were scared of what the prisoners could do.”

    Perfect for fans of books and movies like The Departed, Mystic River, and Goodfellas, A Big House for Little Men introduces a fictional character named Cody, a lifelong criminal who grew up in an all-Irish Dorchester neighborhood in Boston. The story focuses on central themes of family, friendship, crime, and the city of Boston itself.

    “People have a love affair with Boston, and for good reason,” says McKay, who is currently working another new title called You Leave Me No Option. “But as with any great city, there’s a dark side. There are bad events people don’t talk about. And you know what they say happens when you don’t learn from history.”

    That’s part of the reason McKay says he decided to write A Big House for Little Men. He says the same issues and factors that led to the notorious events of the 1970s could easily repeat themselves. McKay says the lessons of his novel are tragically timeless in that they apply just as easily 30 years ago as they do to the troubled youths and the ghettos of modern day Boston.

    A Big House for Little Men is already available at online book e-tailers worldwide, and will hit bookstores for an official release on August 21st.

    For more information, please visit http://www.ABigHouseForLittleMen.com

    About Michael W. McKay: Michael W. McKay was born in Massachusetts and has developed a life-long love affair with the city of Boston. His new book, A Big House for Little Men, uses the history of the notorious Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts as an inspiration for a page-turning storyline featuring a psychopathic central character and his deadly ties with sex, drugs, the Boston mafia, and corrupt policemen and prison guards. McKay now splits his time between Boston and Tampa, Fla., where he is working on a new novel entitled, You Leave Me No Option.


    Michael W. McKay

    Email: mckaymichael18@yahoo.com

    Web: http://www.ABigHouseForLittleMen.com

    Source: AP New Wire

  3. Shaheed Omar
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Harold Clark is coming to Virginia to Direct our prison system and it is just as abusive as what I am reading about MASS. He won’t be hear long if he doesn’t change the abuse.

    Shaheed Omar

  4. Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    Books » Entertainment » Vol.12
    Michael McKay’s A Big House for Little Men
    By Suzy Geers

    The Author and his book
    This isn’t just a corruption book. This isn’t just a prison book. This is, in my opinion, the be all, and all of crime and punishment books about the inside of our Massachusetts prison system. It’s a story of survival ~ and it happened right in our backyard. It is about my neighbor and yours.
    This book IS violent. Very violent, in fact, I had to re-read pages because I just couldn’t fathom what I was digesting. But, it is a life story ~ someone’s tragic life story.

    Imagine being born without a chance. No chance to be a kid, to be loved unconditionally by a mom and a dad, no chance to join Little League ~ but instead being drawn into burglaries and murders, seeing your siblings off to prison, not college. This is the sad way of life for main character Cody in the intense and often shocking A Big House for Little Men. Dorchester native and current North Attleboro resident Michael McKay penned an eye-opening fictional story of Cody’s rise from juvenile offender to the most powerful criminal in Boston.

    Time to elaborate: This book is based on a real story which had to be written as a fictional account of murders that occurred within Walpole State prison in the late 1970s. So, although it is listed as “fiction,” it is based ~ oh so closely ~ upon real events.

    McKay explains, “80% is fiction and the 20% are embellishments. I have all the facts to back it up ~ written documents and reports. If I made this a work of non-fiction, I would have troopers, D.A.s and prison officials wanting to know the who, the when, the how…and I don’t want to deal with that, if you know what I mean.”

    Cody is the notorious real life Mikey Thurber and the crimes he commits are atrocious. Thurber was the most talked about and feared creature of the 1970s. One of the most heinous and brutal (alleged) murders he commits while in prison involves an ice pick and a castration (and there’s much more to it), retaliation for a fierce act of vigilante prison vengeance (specifically, someone strangling his friend). Riots at Walpole State Prison shook the Bay State in 1972. The facility gained national notoriety when prisoners took guards hostage in 1978; several murders within the prison made national headlines in 1979, after which the correction officers (scared for their and their families’ lives) had enough and walked out of the prison in protest. At Walpole, the prisoners ran the show. Thurber ~ and in A Big House for Little Men, Cody ~ was its virtuoso.

    As evil as Cody is, Michael McKay has superbly ~ if not perfectly ~ hand-crafted a character that gains readers’ sympathy, that lets us have compassion for Cody. I actually felt for this person who had committed such vile crimes; I wanted him to win, to beat the system and get some sort of normalcy, a fresh start, a chance. I felt in a strange way that the state owed it to him, that maybe any of us who grew up loved and loving owed it to him.

    Cody is now walking the streets ~ your streets, my streets. He was released ~ yes, released ~ with life parole (to tell you how and why now would be doing a disservice to McKay’s magnetic storytelling, so all I shall do is urge you to read A Big House for Little Men for yourself!) but his sentence was eventually greatly reduced by a crooked ex- Massachusetts State Trooper
    (Cody’s old acquaintance from the neighborhood) turned head of the Massachusetts Parole Board.

    McKay’s fiction, so heavily infused with often bone-chilling non-fiction, is a magnetic character study not just of a character named Cody, but of characters named The MA Judicial System and Where We Come From. Pick up a copy and set aside some time to read A Big House for Little Men from cover to cover. It is a thought-provoking dose of “fictional reality.”


  5. Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Author spotlights Walpole state prison


    By Keith Ferguson/Daily News staff
    Daily News Transcript

    Author spotlights Walpole state prison

    By Keith Ferguson/Daily News staff

    Daily News Transcript

    Posted Sept 28, 2010 @ 02:01 AM

    WALPOLE, Ma.

    Boston native Michael McKay recently published “A Big House for Little Men,” a novel steeped in the realities of Walpole State Prison’s violent past.

    McKay took reports from inside the walls of the prison (later renamed ) MCI: Cedar Junction) in the ’70s to craft the fictional story of Cody, Who in real life in Mikey Thurber a career criminal from Dorchester who comes to wield great power from inside his jail cell before ultimately escaping. And Mikey Thurber was with James Whitey bulger in the early days before he took over the Irish Mafia in Boston and is now the FBI #2 most wanted criminal in the world with a 2 million dollar reward over his head.

    Self-published through iUniverse, the book can be purchased at abighouseforlittlemen.com.- Barnes and Nobles Stores, Borders or any bookstore in the world and is written in every language. It’s becoming the #1 seller right now.

    This is McKay’s first novel. He is working on a second novel called, “You Leave Me No Option.” Which will tell a lot more on James Whitey Bulger than anyone never knew about this man, McKay will even be giving his viewpoint on where Whitey is and he is hoping to collect the 2 million dollar reward and split it with his connections. As long as it is done legally says McKay, who is now 54, has a wife and two kids and splits his time between Massachusetts and Tampa, Fla…

    Q: Did Walpole State Prison/Cedar Junction serve as the inspiration for your novel?

    A: Yes, kind of. I was also drawn to other facilities in Massachusetts as well, because they were in the news every other day back in the ’70s and inmate fatalities were daily. I also recall reading about a takeover of the Walpole State Prison in the mid-’80s where inmates were plotting to kill the warden and guards behind the wall. Inmates came forward to stop it and an investigation was completed where inmates were transported to … (other) facilities nationwide. I received most of my paperwork and information from Mikey Thurber a cold hearted gangster from the old days who grew up in the prison system and he gave me all the paperwork I needed and then some on James Bulger. I even have all the paperwork and back door deals which were made by William Delahunt who is now a Congressmen (D) of Massachusetts and is now stepping down one this novel came out!

    Q: Why did you decide to draw upon events at Walpole prison for your book?

    A: One night, while I was sitting in Norwood Hospital, a group of correction officers and local police rushed two inmates into the emergency room. Later on, I overheard the doctors talking about removing teeth from an inmate’s throat due to a beating he took at the prison and how another inmate died from multiple stab wounds (over 140). One of the doctors appeared to be so physically shaken and was in tears because he could not save the inmate’s life. I have never forgotten what I observed and wanted to tie it in to my book somehow. And after meeting Thurber, it all came together; he knows a lot and his stories are real because he gave me all the paperwork to back it all up! He told me what happened and the corruption within the Department of Corrections, the Massachusetts State Police and District Attorney’s Office of Norfolk County.

    Q: How much research did you do on Walpole State Prison/Cedar Junction? What were some of your most interesting finds?

    A: I did many years of research and have documentation to back up the events that occurred. The most interesting find was the takeover of the prison and the plot behind the story. Also the power that the inmates had behind the walls with the execution squads they formed, and on Jan. 1, 1979. And again the corruption within the Massachusetts State Police and District Attorney’s Office of Norfolk County and the Department of Corrections!

    Twelve inmates were indicted for murders within this prison and most were again found not guilty of the murders. The final straw was the fact that the governor and commissioner of corrections needed to change the image of the facility because the guards could not protect the inmates due to the power and the fear that the inmates possessed. The inmates feared nothing and no one of authority. Also, the guards walked out of the prison to go on strike because they no longer had any control of the inmates and the murder rate was rising and they feared for their own lives.

    Q: What are Cody’s experiences in jail like?

    A: I used Cody as a fictional character in the book the real character is Mikey Thurber and 60% of this true crime book is true! … (His character first served) time initially in juvenile facilities and worked his way up through the prison system. He grew to power and became involved with the execution squads within Walpole prison, but ultimately his experiences were purely vicious and calculated moves on his part. He escaped twice from the prison system while in Concord Prison. He used his street knowledge to get anything he wanted, because he learned from the best of the best. And

    His interaction with the State Police (an old friend from the past) officials and the District Attorney’s Office resulted in him being a free man without any consequences, because he had them in his pocket. He never had to testify against anyone, like most people would have done just to be freed. He had better connections than James Whitey Bulger and is still free to this very day!

    Q: How do you think readers from the state will relate to your book?

    A: (The rioting) impacted all Massachusetts residents because their tax money went to taming the violence that could not be controlled, as well as cover up problems within the system back in those days. The residents were not aware of the crooked politics or deals being made. Walpole, Norwood and Dedham suffered the most from MCI Walpole because the residents, Hospital and Courts were all kept very busy.

    Mikey Thurber thought once William Delahunt went into office he would have more power and work in his favor, and it did in a way, because once Delahunt went into Power, He interned had the Governor appoint Trooper Robert Murphy to the Parole Board and wipe away Thurber’s Life parole! But Mikey Thurber wanted more. William Delahunt did want Whitey Bulger dead, because Whitey tried to use him and it will be in the second Book McKay is writing.

  6. Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Author to Reveal the Whereabouts of James Whitey Bulger

    Assocated Press 9/01/2010

    Author Michael W. McKay will reveal his thoughts on the whereabouts of the infamous Irish Gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in his second Novel call “You Leave Me No Option”. This was stated by the Author himself at a Book signing in Massachusetts this year. McKay’s Connections with convicted murderer Mikey Thurber who worked with James Whitey Bulgers in the early 70′s as a Kid will tell a lot more about Whitey than anyone ever knew. Mikey Thurber knew Whitey from age 13, and wait till people see what I have to write about in this 2nd book States McKay!

    Fact: 1 – Cody the character in this novel is the real life Mikey Thurber who was a street kid and who Whitey Bulger took under his wing from 1969 to 1973 over in Dorchester and South Boston Mass. And After Thurber was convicted of Murder in the 2nd degree; Whitey roused to Power within the ranks of the Irish underworld and took over all of Massachusetts, even “The Winter Hill Gang”.

    Fact: 2 – Mikey Thurber and his two partners escaped twice from the Massachusetts prison system once over a 25 foot wall on a Sunday Morning out of Concord State prison. Mikey Thurber was also involved in the 1978 Execution Squads within the Famous “Walpole State Prison” and always swore revenge on Bulger and his gang. Some of Whiteys closes associates died within Walpole State prison through the hands of the Hit Squads which Mikey Thurber and 12 other inmates were indicted by District Attorner William Delahunt. And none were found Guilty of any of the murders, do to a strong friendship Thurber had with Trooper Robert Murphy who worked out of the District Attorneys State Police Unit.

    McKay had to laugh after he found out that the one Key witness to a Murder within the prison was set up to stay at Trooper Murphys house until the trial was over. And when the kid showed up for Court infront of a Jury he forgot about everything and made a lot of mistakes on the stand! Funny how he forgot everything!

    Fact: 3 – Thurber was set free with the help of his connections from an Old Friend “State Trooper Robert Murphy” who worked for William Delahunt’s office and became a Massachusetts Parole Board Member and erased Mikey Thurber’s record clean! Delahunt went on to become a U. S. Congressman (D) of Massachusetts for years then decided to step down this year after McKay’s Novel: “A Big house for Little Men” came out!

    Fact: 4 – Whitey Bulger turned up missing once Thurber was released from prison; He is still on the FBI Ten Most wanted list with a 2 million dollar reward on his head and he is nowhere to be found anywhere in the world. People have claimed to seen Whitey, but people also claimed they’ve seen Bigfoot………

    Quite naturally McKay does not want to reveal too much more and is confident that, “You Leave Me No Option” will further solve the mysteries surrounding the familiar and some not so familiar characters introduced in his first work!

  7. rob Harvey
    Posted November 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    The truth comes out

  8. Posted December 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    While we are in the area of Walpole State Prison: An Exercise in Torture | S. Brian Willson, Cash for the total amount of bail must be in the form of a cash, cashier’s check, personal check or money order and delivered to the jail facility where the defendant is being detained.

  9. diana pabon
    Posted December 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    please help me find my brother wilfredo pabon aka macho

  10. Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I was in walpole from oct.1978-79, then transferred to MCI-Norfolk. Are these dates correct? I was sent directly to 2-block from Dedham H of C and from what I recall the riots and ultimate guard walkout and inmate takeover occurred in ’73. Most of the fellas in 2-block were still there as a result of ’73-74 incidences at Walpole, and can’t remember any hostage taking at that time. I do recall one morning before breakfast while still in 2-block the news coming over my radio about “another murder @Walpole” which turned out to be in 6-block, directly across from 2. I remember the state police seemed to be everywhere that day, and questioned every single soul from that block. We in 2-block did’nt get out to the chow hall, but were fed in and all the paper garbage that accumalated from unwanted chow plates etc. were tossed off the 2nd and 3rd tiers, swept up in a pile and set ablaze. From the fire, most cooked their own food. Those days, as it turned out, contained some history. But coming from MCI Walpole it can only be negative. Ihave some names, one killed @ Walpole but I’m not putting any name to print, I can’t trust this. I forgot where I saw those incorrect dates, but I think they were contained in the “Backman Bill”. If I’m wrong, about ’79 hostage thing anyway, I’d like to know. Robert

  11. Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Robert, I don’t know from your comment which dates you are seeking correct verification of. I started working for Jack Backman in June 1980. I certainly heard about the 1973 most interesting take over and operation by the inmates, and saw the documentary,”Three Thousand Years and Life”describing that period at Walpole. My studies at Walpole, and other Massachusetts prisons, were undertaken between June 1980 and June 1981.

  12. Brian
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I had a Grandfather go into Walpole State Prison in the 1960′s. He never told me why he went there. His name was
    LLoyd Rollins. He was one tough son of a bitch.

  13. Bill
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I did time with mikey thurber back in 1976 when he was in Concord before he went to Walpole and believe you /me everyone was afraid of him then and I remember the escape too. They actually pulled a heating vent out of the wall, then replaced it until the next day. They just bareley squeezed through! Pretty clever I thought !!!!!

  14. Robert
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I did one day in walpole and was sent to Concord in 1995. I know Jack Campbell and many others. I was born and raised in Cambridge and am currently seeking production of my book “The Walking Bridge” available only on Facebook

  15. Robert
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    @ Diana Pabon your brother is in Shirley Max-Souza Baronowski Maximum Prison in Shirley, MA- here is the link


  16. Robert
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink


  17. derek robideaux
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink


  18. derek robideaux
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink


  19. Linda McMaster
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    My husband went through hell and torture there at Walpole in the 70′s and 80′s he passed away last year the stories he told me were a disgrace the stuff that ponte did. Im looking for the video tape.

  20. Posted December 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Our once great nation has been overthrown and is only deserving of Devine Intervention to remove all the bad seed. Perhaps the Canary Island landslide woul help quite a bit. These SOB’s that call themselves our Honorable Politicians, our self-proclaimed hero Military Generals and the Federal Reserve have betrayed everything and everyone. God will pay each one their earned payment 10 fold as each draws their last miserable and deceiptful breath. We’re living in THE EVIL EMPIRE! Amerika the ugly! This article explains so much more about that organized crime state that infected our entire nation. MA AG Frances Bellotti 1976-1987. This explains quite a bit more.


  21. Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    i did time up there in 79 80 then concord ,then norfolk for about 3 years and some change, ill tell you one thing i was scared shit going thru walpoe at the time some of those guys from the execution squad were going to trial,i was waiting trial in dedha which burned down a bit ,,got transferd to charles street boston,, goin to court with them guys ,then meeting a few of them later when i got my time.once i hit norfolk it was like heaven,,wide open ,a little city ,i was in unit 2-3 houseman best job you could possable want if you wanted to sell drugs ,,,here i am small town 23 year old goin with the flow,,,i would really like to write a book about it becouse ill never foget one min of that entire stay like mikey mckay id make some money thats for sure

  22. medic
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    worked there for 5 or 6 years 83-88 as a medic. Saw a lot of fear and violence and answered more than my share of alarms. Cut more than my share of failed suicide gestures down, helped a few cheat death. I saw decent men there and men I would have gladly dispatched to hell. Got very used to the adrenalin rush after a while. Not as crazy as in the 70′s, but still a brutal and fearful place. Sort of miss it.

  23. Daniel Sullivan
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    I think I know the medic; “Dennis Spicer” perhaps?!!! If so, yes, you were the bomb. I was a CO there in the late 80′s. You saved many lives, in a very unpredictable, potentially dangerous environment. And yes, (both inmate and staff) would sometimes have to confront and fight to survive and/or achieve a type of control/safety for all. If the medic is Mr. Spicer, you are indeed sir a hidden hero. Thank you for your service. So many will never know…

  24. Anastasia
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    My father was killed at Walpole in 1972 from a bomb. He was only in for 3-6 years. To hear how people were treated in there just breaks my heart to know he may have been going through torture.

  25. steve
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    you are all a bunch of scumbags except for co and medic. I would kill all of you in a heartbeat if I had the chance.

    I hope Billy Kelly beat the fuck out of some of you pussies.

  26. james backlund
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    steve go fuck your mother a few more times

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  28. Chris Devaney
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    My brother, Stephen Devaney, was in Walpole, at the time this was going on. Stephen had been transferred there after the Concord riot. My brother was sentenced to 25 years in Walpole for his participation in the riot. His sentence was overturned because the guards brutally beat him after his court hearing. They broke his ankle, inserted a lit cigarette in his ear, he lost his hearing in that ear, they fire hosed him in the Blue Room. By chance, a state rep visited the prison a day later and was instrumental in getting his sentence overturned. A childhood friend, Billy Frates, was murdered there. I am looking for anyone that knew my brother, at that time, or Billy Dorsey or Joey Meusse. My brother passed away a few years ago, his life haunts me. My brother was also in a reform school in Brockton and Billetica, as a child, the names of the places escape me, I would like to connect the dots of his lie, can anyone assist me?

  29. Dennis
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I served 11 years, from 81-92…the teargas wafting thru the blocks from the 81 riot. The evil that permeated that place, from both inmates AND guards. Somehow I survived, and fortunately show no scars from those years. Many of us are out here, many of those p.o.s. guards BELONG there, on the OTHER side of the bars. I witnessed murders there…and rapes. I had guards bringing the drugs in for me…everybody has a price. As some guards would admit back then “The only difference between you and I is…YOU got caught!” Actually considered suicide at Walpole. Thank God for answered prayer. Thank God for Family. God help those serving time in that shit hole.

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    Posted August 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I did time in concord walpole norfolk and most of all the other prisons up state..i was an inmate in concord in the 70s doing the dog day afternoon riot.the old wing in concord had to be open to house those of us who took part in this riot…i was also in walpole doing the time when the stateies and the swat teams had to be called in…i served a total of 21 yrs in and out of those prisons…my older brother as well….idid time with the billy royces and the so call real boston strangler…i can name so many cons back then. some who are still incarcerated..like the mike tuitts andso many others from my home town of springfield mass. too many story to be told….books books books and movies that can be made.i had my fights with the cos…my brother was also shot and killed by the spfld police in 1984.doing one of my incarcerations…on that note..until next time….8-11-2014…..my brother got killed on 8-11-1984.

  33. Penda13976
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  51. Mary Martin
    Posted December 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    my brother went into Walpole around 1980. He was a very young 18. I can’t remember how long he was there for, but when he left he no longer had any spirit in his eyes and never got his spirit back. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile. He had been put in that F— hole for months for no reason except he didn’t want to suck some guards dick . They played head games with him all the time. Saying he had visitors when he didn’t . not giving him his suit for court. Then beating him because he said he had a right to have his clothes for court, he did not have to go in his jail jumper.
    what I want to know is why does this jail still have the DDU – the hole. The whole DDU building is to abuse the prisoners.
    Why can’t we have that building shut down. No other jail has a separate building to torture people.

  52. Dakem
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    My name is Dakem. I am an Abolitionist in the State of New York. Joseph Ponte was named Commissioner here in April. He now wants to introduce a behavioral modification unit to Rikers Island that looks exactly like Block 10 in Walpole. We need witnesses, primary, secondary to the horrors of Walpole to expose this Butcher for what he really is! Please contact me ASAP as the Board of Correction meets on December 19th, 2014 to rule on his proposed “reforms” — the new torture chamber called ESHU. Contact me @ dakemroberts@gmail.com.

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  57. jimmy gately
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

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  65. Jets Fan
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  89. martin mcnulty
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  91. Casper
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  93. Chtis
    Posted August 4, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I see many people speaking on either serving time through these riots as either screws or convicts and name dropping but yet 2 important men responsible in organizing the fight for inmates rights arent mentioned anywhere they were brothers in for natural life went in around 1962 one was sentenced to death the other natural life he was only 16 they got in a shootout and cops were killed they were both as real as they come one was a bad M.F from jump thats peter ladetto who passed away still in prison roughly 2 and half years ago his body ridden with cancer god rest his soul and his little brother louie ladetto who was 16 when he went in on a natural life sentence and he wasnt someone to cross while he served his time but he was a victim circumstances and did whatever necessary to survive and after 35 years due to the president changing law on people serving natural life who were sentenced as juveniles but they were targeted by officers worst then any other inmates cause cops dont like cop killers ive even seen C.Os bragging about beating peter in the hole how he was nothing when the man was in late 60s and ridden with cancer and this done in last 12 years but how tough is someone feel like a man for beating a elderly dying convict who was cuffed up and you got your buddies and clubs stun guns etc your a coward i wanted to respond to this lowlife cop but im fortunate enough to be a friend of lous and he is on life parole and i wouldnt want my words or issue started with C.O to cost him his freedom cause lou might of been a monster behind the wall but in this world over filled with fake dishonest people louie ladetto is the most honest upstanding man ive ever met and its a privelege to know him and if you werent told he did that much time from 62 to 97 in walpole of all places you wouldnt know he ever did time he will give you the shirt off his back he will help anyone and everyone he spends his days writing letters to all the lifers he grew up with and with his lousy ssi that almost all goes to rent and food he puts money every month in certain lifers accounts because rhey have nobody and he knows the power of a single letter and a couple bucks in canteen means to lifers with nobody coming from a fellow lifer who got out but hes the kindest kost gental man and i can honestly say its been 3 years since i met lou man to man i love that man afyer just a few months but lou and peter and few other men whose names i dont know but they didnt start the riots cause there convicts and wanted tovtake the prison over they took it over and treated the guards the way they were treated point blank and it changed unfortunately guards were hurt but not to the level guards did to them imagime if they had the cops resources it wouldve been worst and im sure some convicts used it as a pass to hurt people but they just wanted to be treated human regardless of there offenses cause theyre already paying for there crimes

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