(STMW) — Wisecracking Chicago Outfit killer Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo claims he is being subjected to “elder abuse” as a result of being placed in solitary confinement last year in a North Carolina federal prison.

Lombardo, 84, was sentenced to life in prison for murder and racketeering in 2009. He has since been confined to a wheelchair and has been a “model prisoner,” according to court papers filed in Chicago by his attorneys.

Nevertheless, in April of last year, the attorney general placed Lombardo under “special administrative measures” that restrict his access to mail, telephone and visitors, citing “Lombardo’s proclivity for violence.”

Lombardo’s petition claimed that no specific action on his part was given to justify the measures.

“The imposition of these draconian conditions against an 84-year-old, chronically ill, wheelchair-user can only be an attempt to appear ‘tough on crime’ by engaging in ‘elder abuse’ against a man who once had a reputation (deserved or not) as a major player in the Chicago ‘Mob,’ ” his attorneys wrote in a motion filed on Dec. 23.

“Whatever he once was, Joseph Lombardo, Sr. is now a sick, 84 year-old man and the SAMs dictated policy of virtually complete isolation constitutes extra-judicial punishment and administrative overreach,” the motion said.

Lombardo is being held in the federal prison medical facility at Butner, N.C.

A government reply, filed Jan. 17, requested dismissal of Lombardo’s motion on technical grounds, saying it should have been filed in North Carolina, where Lombardo is confined, not Illinois.

In addition, the government said that Lombardo is not eligible to go to court on this issue until he has exhausted all his “administrative remedies,” such as filing a challenge at the institution where he is incarcerated.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)