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What a joke! Violent cons treated to circus acts
By Michele McPhee/ The Beat
Monday, October 10, 2005 - Updated: 01:22 AM EST

The Department of Correction has found a new way to entertain the most dangerous cons in the state: They have sent in the circus.

Last week, murderers, rapists and other violent prisoners at MCI-Walpole, Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center and Boston Pre-release Center were being treated to entertainment in the form of strongmen, singers and comedians who are part of a touring evangelistic Christian outreach group that uses laughs to urge cons into Bible study. Correction officers say clowns even joined the act.

And the show will go on.

The Christian group is called Operation Starting Line, a program aimed at helping violent cons on their ``marathon run through life with all its loops and bends, its smooth pavements and potholes. Through OSL, prisoners learn to come under a new `coach' - the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who alone can transform their hearts and set them free from bondage to sin and crime.''

The performers plan to visit every prison in the state, said DOC spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.

The traveling circus has infuriated correction officers who complain that in addition to the violent maniacs they are dealing with every day, they now have to trip over Bozo in the prison yard.

``Picture a big clown car pulling up to MCI-Walpole with strongmen, clowns getting out and entertaining the murderers and rapists out in the yard,'' said Ken Ferullo, vice president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union.

``Morale is at an all-time low, and we have to watch inmates who are throwing feces and urine at us be entertained by a circus, having a great time,'' Ferullo said. ``I have been in this department for 13 years and I have never seen anything like this. It's shocking.''

It strikes me that there are probably enough strongmen already in the prison system. How many more men need to flex their muscles in a prison yard?

And the issue of clowns has become a touchy one with the DOC. Last week, Nantel, the DOC spokeswoman, insisted there were no clowns on prison property. Yes, there was a strongman, she said, and some singers.

But no clowns.

``There were never clowns. I know that there was a strongman who is a former drug addict,'' Nantel said.

When told that the DOC was denying that clowns were part of last week's prison-yard shows, a correction officer who watched it himself laughed.

``That must have been the superintendent with the red nose and the floppy feet,'' he said.

Who knows? Maybe some entertainment will calm some of the angrier inmates down. These past few months - since Walpole's ``supermax'' unit was shut down the same day the Herald exposed a problem with faulty doors popping open, allowing inmates to escape - prisoners have caused thousands of dollars in damage.

The show's strongman, Duane DeGravel, who breaks bricks as part of his act, is going to have a hard time impressing the guys who ripped toilets out of the walls of their cells with their bare hands over the past few months.

But hey, Operation Starting Line is not promising anything but the following, according to a flyer posted at Bay State Correctional Center: ``We are hoping to entertain you, and most of all we want to give you hope and encouragement.''

At least the prisoners are getting to enjoy a circus. I certainly can't afford to hit the old Garden this week with my five nieces and nephews to take in the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Not when the tickets run up to $95 a pop.
 

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You have got to be crapping me! What a waste of money! :!: I have an event for them. Lets have the prisoners line up out side in single file, side by side, and throw rocks at them!
 

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The DOC has become a disgrace! And I DON'T mean the Officers, I mean the damn Commisioner. She should be ashamed of herself for all this touchy feely coddling bullshit. She needs to wake up and understand that these inmates are prisoners for a reason. Its prison, not Disney World!!
 

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100% Percent Right RPD.
There was a follow up article on this disgrace; whereby 2 mothers, whose kids were murdered (1 execution style) have petitioned to have KD removed. Will probably fall on deaf ears, but I applaud them for taking the fight on behalf of their kids.
The DOC admin is disgraceful to permit such coddling to the worst of Massachusetts' worst.
 

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KozmoKramer said:
100% Percent Right RPD.
There was a follow up article on this disgrace; whereby 2 mothers, whose kids were murdered (1 execution style) have petitioned to have KD removed. Will probably fall on deaf ears, but I applaud them for taking the fight on behalf of their kids.
The DOC admin is disgraceful to permit such coddling to the worst of Massachusetts' worst.
This is why I discourage anyone from taking this job. It's hard to watch all the bologna go on while they continue to crucify skrews.:FT:
 

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"Morale is at an all-time low, and we have to watch inmates who are throwing feces and urine at us be entertained by a circus, having a great time,'' Ferullo said. ``I have been in this department for 13 years and I have never seen anything like this. It's shocking.''

Enough said. Ugly times are ahead of us.
 

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The DOC Commissioner is a complete idiot for allowing this. Appointing her is just one more mistake to add to the Governors growing list of screw ups. Good job Mitt!

 

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I agree Gil. He is not going to get re-elected or become President.
Gil said:
The DOC Commissioner is a complete idiot for allowing this. Appointing her is just one more mistake to add to the Governors growing list of screw ups. Good job Mitt!

 

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I have a better idea instead of hiring a traveling clown group. Commisioner Dennehy and the rest of her Supt. cronies can dress up as clowns and entertain all the cons. Then when the cons get upset and start throwing urine and feces at the "peformers" she can watch first hand what the CO's have to deal with every day. Then maybe she will get a clue and stop trying to micromanage a department that has enoughs to deal with without an imcompetent moron who has never walked a tier trying to tell the professionals how to do their jobs.:sb:
 
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