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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 58: Death sentence confinement; psychiatric examination; transfer or failure to transfer to general prison population; appeal; hearing; annual record review; court order

Section 58. The sheriff of the county in a jail whereof a prisoner sentenced to the punishment of death is confined, or a deputy designated by the sheriff, within ten days after receipt by the sheriff of the warrant for the execution of such sentence shall, at a time chosen by the sheriff, convey such prisoner to the state prison and deliver him, with the warrant in either case, to the superintendent thereof or to the officer performing his duties and such prisoner shall be placed in a cell provided for the purpose. Within fourteen days thereafter, the superintendent or officer performing his duties shall cause said prisoner to be examined by a psychiatrist for the purpose of rendering a written and signed opinion as to whether or not said prisoner is psychologically fit to be transferred from special confinement to confinement with the general prison population, and in the case of a female, to the general prison population at the reformatory for women, with full participation in the educational and work programs, within the prison, afforded prisoners under sentence other than the punishment of death. Upon receipt of said psychiatric opinion, and other pertinent information, the superintendent or officer performing his duties may transfer said prisoner to confinement with the general prison population with the right of full participation in the privileges afforded other prisoners as aforesaid. If the superintendent, or officer performing his duties, does not so transfer said prisoner, he shall notify said prisoner of his decision forthwith, whereupon said prisoner may appeal said decision within ten days of said notification by giving notice to the superintendent, or officer performing his duties, on a form provided him at the time of the receipt of the notification of the adverse decision. Upon receipt of such notice, the superintendent or officer performing his duties shall notify the commissioner of correction forthwith whereupon the commissioner shall hold a hearing on said appeal within fifteen days of receipt of notice that such appeal has been made. The commissioner or his appointee shall conduct said hearing and shall render a decision granting or denying said appeal within five days following the date of the hearing. A prisoner who is denied such transfer by the superintendent, or officer performing his duties, shall remain in a cell for the purpose of the execution of his sentence, and shall thereafter be kept therein, unless an appeal made by him of the adverse decision is granted, until the sentence of death is executed upon him, and no person shall be allowed access to him without an order of the court, except the officers and employees of the prison, his counsel, such physicians, priest, or minister of religion as the superintendent may approve and members of the prisoner's family who are identified to the satisfaction of the superintendent. Any prisoner confined to a cell for the purpose of the execution of his sentence shall have his record reviewed annually for the purpose of determining whether or not said prisoner should be placed in the general population, and shall be entitled to a hearing, as provided above, on each adverse decision.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the superior court may make any order relative to the custody of a prisoner confined in the state prison or the reformatory for women under this section in case said prisoner is granted a new trial.