Saturday, April 08, 2006

Jail Bars Brokeback Viewing

I almost never read a hard copy newspaper. Most of the news I get from NPR, MSMBC and (the Boston Globe's web site). On occasion I would read the Metro on the train when I worked in Cambridge.

Today a coworker had left a copy of the Boston Herald behind. Below is a copy of todays front page. A slow news day, you may think but looking at the headline. The answer is not really, the Herald is just our local tabloid.

Jail bars brokeback viewing: Warden turns movie off, didn't want cons turned on

By Michele McPhee and Emma Ratliff
Saturday, April 8, 2006

A by-the-book warden pulled the plug during a jailhouse showing of the controversial gay-cowboy movie "Brokeback Mountain" yesterday, fearing the film's steamy scenes violated the facility's no-movie-sex policy.

Faster than you could say, "I wish I knew how to quit you," inmates at MCI-Norfolk found their afternoon matinee ended just 10 minutes before the Academy Award-winning movie's ending.

The cons were assembled in the gym yesterday afternoon to watch the film about a love affair between two gay cowboys and their trysts on an isolated mountainside - that is, until a prison official shut it off.

However, the prisoners did get to hear the line uttered by the cowboys' boss, "You boys sure found a way to make the time pass," when he happened upon the sheepherders after a heated tumble in the grass, which he likened to leaving "the dogs babysittin" the sheep while you stem the rose."

Trying to prevent prisoners from making "the time pass" by engaging in cellblock sex is one of the most serious problems correction officers face, said Ken Ferullo, vice president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union.

"We don't need to foster that kind of atmosphere in there. It already exists. These guys are alone together, some of them forever," Ferullo said. "We're already running "Brokeback prison."

Yesterday, Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin acknowledged that screening "sexually explicit material" violates the agency's rules and said the employee who approved the film will be "disciplined through the proper channels."

"Norfolk does not allow the viewing of films with sexual content or violence against prison guards," Wiffin said.

There is a large population of prisoners at MCI-Norfolk who are unlikely to ever have physical contact with anyone but another man while serving life sentences, including:

Convicted killer Michelle Lynne Kosilek, whose name was Bob when he strangled his wife Cheryl to death in 1990. Kosilek successfully sued to get a sex-change operation and takes taxpayer-funded female hormones. The inmate is now demanding a nose job and laser hair removal.

School shooter Wayne Lo, the man who went on a shooting rampage at a college in western Massachusetts, killing two and wounding four others.

Kenneth Seguin, who slashed his two children into bits and bludgeoned his wife to death in 1992.
Lifers Group Inc. cofounder James Cyr, who stabbed the mother of his baby daughter eight times, doused her with gasoline, and set her ablaze. Cyr helps host Christmas parties for other convicted killers at the jail.

"It's absolutely unbelievable the system could let this happen," Ferullo said. "They did this just to make the prisoners happy."

DOC officials said MCI-Norfolk has a contract with a video agency that licenses films for prison viewing purposes. The movies are then piped into inmates' personal cells or to small viewing areas throughout the prison - including the gym.

"Brokeback Mountain," which was banned in the Bahamas and mainland China, was released on video this week. Upon its release, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting called the film "morally offensive."

I checked, there didn't seem to be a similar article published in the Globe. However MSNBC did, but it's much less offensive.


At 3:48 PM, Blogger BriteYellowGun said...

I really hate those stupid terms they use for this movie, "Gay flick", "gay movie", etc. Why does it have to have that label attached when it was a love story, plain and simple. And please, like that movie was going to cause a prison orgy or something! How stupid. If anything, I might teach some of those guys what actual "love" is about.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Bill German said...

the irony


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