Federal judge dismisses Bulger family lawsuit against Federal Bureau of Prisons

WHEELING, W.Va. – U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Wheeling has dismissed the lawsuit brought by the family of Whitey Bulger against the government.

Whitey Bulger 2011 mugshot

The leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang was serving two life sentences plus five years for numerous racketeering charges and 13 murders when he was transferred to USP Hazelton in October 2018.

Bulger, 89, was placed in the general population and was beaten to death within hours of his arrival at the Preston County facility. 

Bulger’s family called the facility violent, volatile and understaffed in the lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)in 2020.

Bailey ruled federal law precludes the family’s ability to sue over the Federal Bureau of Prison’s decision to transfer Bulger to Hazelton. In the ruling he said, “Through its frequent legislation in the areas of prison housing and prisoner litigation, Congress had many opportunities to create a damages remedy for situations where a housing decision leads to injury. But it did not do so. Instead, it has repeatedly limited judicial authority to review BOP housing decisions and to entertain claims brought by prisoners.”

Bulger had served time at federal prisons in Florida and Arizona before his transfer to USP Hazelton.

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