Prison inmates placed bets on how long Whitey Bulger would survive after being transferred, a watchdog report found. The notorious gangster was beaten to death in less than 24 hours.

  • Inmates at a West Virginia prison bet on how long James "Whitey" Bulger would survive there.

  • A new watchdog report found that the notorious gangster was beaten to death in mere hours.

  • The scathing DOJ report said there were a series of "failures" surrounding his prison transfer.

Inmates at a West Virginia prison placed bets on how long James "Whitey" Bulger would survive after being transferred there, a new report has found. After he arrived, the notorious Boston gangster was beaten to death in a matter of hours.

The report from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which was made public Wednesday, details a series of "failures" within the Federal Bureau of Prisons surrounding Bulger's transfer from a Florida prison to the US Penitentiary Hazelton in October 2018.

Among the OIG's findings was that prison staff who worked at Hazelton, which had a "record of violence among inmates," spoke publicly about Bulger's upcoming arrival in front of inmates — a violation of Federal Bureau of Prisons policy.

One Hazelton inmate at the time told the OIG in an interview that he knew of Bulger's arrival at the site two weeks before he physically showed up, and that the "entire prison knew" of the transfer. According to the report, that inmate also said they heard Federal Bureau of Prisons officers speaking freely of Bulger's arrival like they were "talking about a football game."

That inmate "further stated that both the inmates and staff were speculating about — and inmates were betting money on — how long Bulger would stay alive at Hazelton," the report said.

Bulger was eventually transferred from US Penitentiary Coleman in Florida to Hazelton on October 29, 2018. He arrived at around 6 p.m. and was pronounced dead the next day at 9:04 a.m.

"Staff found Bulger unresponsive with no pulse, in his bunk, with visible injuries to his head and face, consistent with having been involved in a physical altercation," the report said.

Bulger, who gained notoriety for leading violent organized crime in New England, was arrested in 2011 after being on the run for years. He was convicted of numerous crimes two years later.

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