It's not clear what will happen to the prison complex and the land once inmates and staff are transferred elsewhere. Photo by Celeste Katz Marston

Union: Closure of MCI-Concord risks officers’ safety

By Jennifer Lord Paluzzi
January 25, 2024

The Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union is protesting the closure of MCI-Concord, contending that it will put officers’ safety at risk.

“The  Executive Board feels that the closing of MCI-Concord or any other prison will burden our already violent  and dangerous prisons,” the union executives announced in a press release. “We are witnessing extreme and daily violence at SBCC after the closing of Walpole.”

The 146-year-old prison, the oldest running men’s prison in the state, will be transferring its population and correctional officers to other facilities over the next few months. It is expected to shutter by the summer.

Gov. Maura Healey said Wednesday that closing the prison will mean a cost savings of about $16 million for the state and reflects a downturn in correctional facilities across the state. MCI-Concord now operates at about 50 percent capacity.

“With over 300 inmates at Concord our classification system will undoubtedly need to  reclassify many of these and other inmates state wide.” the union’s executive board wrote. “This will potentially place higher risk inmates in  lower-level facilities thus placing our officer’s safety at risk. 

“We ask the Governor, Public Safety Secretary and DOC Commissioner to halt any plans to close  Concord until a comprehensive plan is in place,” it continued. “It’s easy for the Governor, and her staff to cut, reduce and eliminate state programs and facilities, but the true test of leadership and management comes with  solutions and answers to those cuts, which has been conspicuously absent from the administration.  This closing will no doubt place our officers throughout the Commonwealth in grave danger.”

This marks the second prison shutdown in the state. Back in April 2022, the state began the process of shutting down MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole.