Prison journalist alleges he was moved to another state in retaliation for columns
NEW HAMPSHIRE — A Maine prison inmate who wrote about prison life for a Maine newspaper was transferred to a prison in New Hampshire and said in mid-December that he believes he was moved in retaliation for what he wrote.
According to the Associated Press, convicted murderer John Sullivan was transferred from New Hampshire to Maine five years ago to be closer to his sick mother. He wrote a column called “Inside the Walls” for the Maine Times in Topsham, which profiled life behind bars and prison bureaucracy. A recent column was critical of the prison library system, which limits the number of books that a prisoner may have and asked readers to donate books. Maine Times Editor Peter Cox wrote in an editorial that the librarian called the newspaper and complained that a number of people called wanting to donate used books and that the library did not want them. In mid-December, Sullivan was transferred back to the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. The Maine Times reported that a group of volunteers who counsel prisoners went to visit Sullivan and were told by a guard that he had been transferred because “the administration has had enough.”
The AP reported that Sullivan wrote a letter to Cox from the New Hampshire State Prison saying the Maine authorities “locked me in segregation … then shipped me to New Hampshire. No write-ups, no explanations — nothing.”
There has been no comment from the Maine or New Hampshire prisons systems according to the AP and Maine Times.
Ed Myers, a volunteer and friend of Sullivan, said the inmate plans to file a writ of habeas corpus with the New Hampshire Supreme Court but does not think he will be able to pay the filing fee.
Cox said in a Times editorial that the newspaper will continue to publish Sullivan’s column.