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Life in the big house can be a lonely affair, eased only by the shallow, temporary comforts of the occasional gang rape. Perhaps, then, there is no better audience for Brokeback Mountain's tale of man-on-man yearning than a prison population, who know all too well the pained longing that can often follow a spittle-assisted "claiming" of the new blue-eyed number on the block. Unfortunately, a Massachusetts prison didn't feel the same way, and are disciplining a guard who sought to share the Brokeback experience with his inmates:

Massachusetts Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said the recreation officer, whose name was not released, had not followed standard procedure for screening the movie for excessive violence, assaults on correctional staff, nudity or explicit sexual content.

"I want to make it clear, it wasn't the subject matter — it was the graphic nature of the sexually explicit scenes," Wiffin said Monday.

The officer played the movie Thursday at MCI-Norfolk, a medium security prison about 25 miles southwest of Boston. According to Wiffin, a deputy supervisor came in as the movie was playing and asked if the officer had screened it first. He said no. Since there were only 20 minutes remaining, the inmates were allowed to see the end, she said

We applaud the prison officials for not denying them the Ennis del Mar shirt-hugging scene; surely it melted the hearts of even the most hardened of these criminals, perhaps even encouraging some to finally tell their bitches how they truly felt about them. And while Joaquin Phoenix may be Folsom prison's #1 pin-up hunk, we imagine many a magazine-snipped photo of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in various stages of dreamilicious shirtlessness have started popping up on MCI-Norfolk's cell walls since.