Keith Raniere has challenges.
His most significant concern is whether he will return to the prison life he knew before Adonis Withers punched him on July 26.
That incident sent both men to the Special Housing Unit.
Adonis got out of the SHU and returned to “general population” about three weeks later.
“General population” is a term for prisoners who aren’t segregated from other prisoners. The SHU is where they reside when segregated for disciplinary or protective measures.
Raniere remains in the SHU for his safety, prison officials say.
According to BOP documents:
“On August 15, 2022, Incident Report No. 365523 was expunged. However, [Raniere] remains in the Special Housing Unit at USP Tucson in administrative detention status (non-punitive) pending placement into general population or other suitable housing.”
Raniere should be concerned with the last four words:
“or other suitable housing.”
Other than returning to general population, the options appear to be to remain in the SHU or transfer to another prison.
According to BOP policy § 541.29
Staff verification of need for protection.
If a staff investigation verifies your need for placement in the SHU as a protection case, you may remain in the SHU or be transferred to another institution where your status as a protection case may not be necessary, at the Warden’s discretion.”
In the SHU, Raniere remains in his cell for 23 hours per day and gets out for one hour for exercise. The exercise takes place in a small room where he can move a little.
He has gotten out of his cell four times to speak with lawyers for between one and two hours. He has had nine legal visits, which allowed him to walk to a room to see his lawyers.
His legal visits are for his lawsuit against the BOP.
He is suing the people who will decide how long he stays in the SHU.
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The BOP has taken an active role in removing NXIVM visitors to Raniere.
The BOP removed Nicki Clyne from his list of approved visitors on July 22, 2021.
The reason cited was a telephone infraction.
The BOP removed Chakravorty because he did not know Raniere before his incarceration.
The BOP removed Danielle Roberts on January 7, 2022.
The BOP wrote:
“Danielle Roberts is a former associate of NXIVM who has been removed from Plaintiff’s visiting list due to her extensive involvement with NXIVM…. She was removed ‘for safety and security of institution.'”
The BOP did not make any allegations of wrongdoing on Roberts’ part.
Last month, the BOP removed Marc Elliot from the list of approved visitors.
He has had “extensive involvement with NXIVM.”
Elliot moved from out of state to Tuscon this summer.
FR has information that the BOP removed another former NXIVM member from the approved visitors’ list in September.
The BOP did permit Suneel to have a two-hour phone conversation with Raniere on June 19, 2022.
The BOP deemed it a legal call.
This was on the eve of Raniere’s pro se filing in connection with his Rule 33 motion.
In that motion, Raniere alleged he had newly discovered evidence of the FBI tampering with evidence used at his trial.
Suneel is his power of attorney.
Raniere finds himself in a perilous place.
Will the BOP decide he can re-enter the general population at Tucson?
The BOP has broad discretion. His fate is in the hands of the officials he is suing.
If BOP officials wanted to retaliate against him, he has put them in a position to do so.
Judges rarely second-guess prison officials’ decisions about the safety of prisons.
The BOP can make an argument for caution.
Prison officials may be held responsible if someone attacked Raniere in general population.
If Raniere is killed, some will invoke the names of Jeffrey Epstein or Whitey Bulgar.
On August 10, 2019, guards found Epstein unresponsive in his Metropolitan Correctional Center. The cause of death was officially listed as suicide, but many believe he was assassinated.
Whitey Bulger, who was in a wheelchair, was beaten to death by inmates on October 30, 2018, within hours of his arrival at Hazelton prison. There are many who believe Bulgar was silenced.
They will allege the BOP permitted Raniere’s assassination to prevent disclosures.
Raniere lived in general population at MDC from April 2018 until December 2020 – more than two years.
Raniere lived in general population at Tuscon from January 21, 2021, until July 26, 2022.
This appears to be Raniere’s intake photo at USP Tucson. It is the latest known photo of Raniere.
He did a stint in the SHU last year, lasting about 90 days.
As for the transfer, there is no other maximum security facility safer than Tucson. USP Tucson operates to provide safety for sex offenders.
Sex offenders, particularly child sex offenders, are targets in prisons with maximum security.
Tuscon houses such as he, so they would not have to live their lives in protective custody in the SHU.
The BOP may assign him to another prison.
Would Colorado’s Supermax be a possibility?
That facility specializes in SHU.
When an inmate arrives, they reportedly spend three years in solitary confinement.
Because of his crimes and sentence length, it is unknown if the BOP could place him in a mid or low-security prison.
Clare Bronfman moved from max security to low security earlier this year.
NXIVM watchers understand that the dancing outside the MDC was innocuous. So was the offer of coffee and donuts.
The prison takes a much more guarded view.
Raniere created a reputation for himself in Tucson with his lawsuits.
This will prompt officials to err on the side of caution. Even if they do not have one retaliatory bone in their collective bodies.
Meanwhile, Raniere remains in a cell for 23 hours per day. Is this Raniere’s future for the rest of his life?
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