A 27-year-old New Hampshire state prison inmate who was brutally beaten last August has been transferred to a Massachusetts correctional facility this month while state police investigate the assault.
“He was hit pretty hard in the face,” state Department of Corrections spokesman Jeffrey J. Lyons said of inmate Matthew J. York, who was found beaten Aug. 14 in the close custody unit at New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord.
York was assigned to the unit, which is a level 4 disciplinary unit, on July 31 for striking someone, Lyons said. The unit is one step down from the special housing maximum-security unit, where York was assigned when he first entered prison June 11, Lyons said.
York’s wife, Kelly, claimed her husband was attacked because he tried to sever his ties with a local prison gang known as the Brotherhood of White Warriors. Kelly York told theConcord Monitor newspaper that her husband had been targeted by gang members in the weeks leading up to the assault.
Lyons would not comment on Kelly York’s account.
“We are looking at all aspects of the assault to determine what may have caused it. We don’t want to specifically state that it may be related to a gang, but we will look at that among any other potential leads we may receive to determine what happened and to determine what, if any, arrests may be made,” Lyons said. No arrests have been made to date, he said.
Lyons acknowledged organized gangs exist in prison, including the Brotherhood of White Warriors, but would not say if York ever was associated with it.
York, formerly of Rochester, was convicted in Stafford County Superior Court in 2013 of felony theft, two counts each of burglary, felon in possession of a weapon and falsifying physical evidence.
York is serving a 5- to 15-year prison sentence on the theft conviction and will be eligible for parole Feb. 10, 2018. He is serving concurrent 3 1/2- to 7-year sentences on the other convictions.
Kelly York also told the Monitor that her husband’s injuries were so severe he had to have reconstructive surgery and spent nine days in a hospital before being moved to the prison’s medical unit. Lyons would not comment on this account.
According to Lyons, York was treated at the prison’s health services unit from Aug. 14 until Sept. 13, when he was returned to the close custody unit. On Sept. 25, he was transferred to Carroll County Jail, then to Rockingham County jail. He was returned to the state prison for less than a day when he was transferred to a Massachusetts facility Feb. 8, Lyons said.
Attempts to reach Kelly York by telephone were unsuccessful because she has an unpublished number.
Lyons said he could not specify the reasons for York’s transfer. But, he added, “one reason often considered is we have to ensure the safety of the inmate and ensure the safety of the institution.”