Jails holding Bulger, Greig have a history

By Mark Arsenault
Globe Staff / June 26, 2011

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After 16 years on the run together, James “Whitey’’ Bulger and Catherine Greig are now 50 miles apart; he’s locked up at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, in Plymouth, while she is behind bars at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I.

The South Boston mob boss, facing charges that he killed at least 19 people, is not the first infamous person to be held in the 17-year-old prison.

The facility has also housed terrorist Richard Reid, the so-called shoe-bomber who tried to blow up an American Airlines jet in 2001 with a bomb in his shoe. Richard Hatch, the winner of the first “Survivor’’ TV jackpot, jailed for tax evasion, also served part of his sentence in Plymouth.

The FBI arrested Bulger and Greig, the gangster’s long-time girlfriend, in Santa Monica, Calif. last week.

A spokeswoman for the Plymouth facility declined to offer details about Bulger’s incarceration, though it is nearly certain that such a notorious crime figure would be kept out of general population and held in administrative segregation in an area known as the G unit.

The maximum-security unit is a “jail within a jail,’’ Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald Jr. explained in a video tour of the unit published in 2009 by the Brockton Enterprise.

Inmates are frequently assigned to the G unit for their own protection when they need to be kept safe from other prisoners. Highly dangerous inmates — what the sheriff called “Hannibal Lecter types’’—are also assigned to the unit for the protection of others.

Bulger’s neighbors in California said he liked to take long walks, but inmates in the G unit are locked down in their cells 23 hours per day.

They are allowed an hour for showers, phone calls, or to stretch their legs in the day room. They are fed through a metal slot in their cell doors and issued uniforms three times per week.

The maximum-security Wyatt facility generally holds federal prisoners from around the Northeast for the US Marshal Service and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Earlier this year, reputed former New England mob boss Luigi Manocchio was ordered detained at Wyatt after being indicted on extortion charges.

Wyatt’s warden, Brian Murphy, confirmed by e-mail yesterday that Greig is incarcerated at his facility, but said he would “not discuss our internal security and supervision of detainees,’’ and declined to provide any details on the prison conditions under which she is being held.