MCI-Concord. Photo by Ken McGagh for The Concord Bridge

State lawmakers hail ‘generational opportunity’ of MCI-Concord shutdown 

By Betsy Levinson
February 1, 2024

State Rep. Simon Cataldo said he looks forward to positive changes to Concord’s landscape in the wake of the decision to close the nearly 150-year-old prison and relocate hundreds of inmates to other facilities. 

“MCI-Concord’s closure represents a generational opportunity for the Concord community and the region,” Cataldo (D-Concord) said.  

“The parcel’s size and its proximity to the commuter rail, West Concord Village, Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, adjacent open space and Route 2 means that the possibilities are boundless.”  

Gov. Maura Healey announced the move last week as part of the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. “The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance may sell, lease for a term not to exceed 99 years, transfer or otherwise dispose of real property, used for correctional purposes,” the official text states.  

Cataldo said he’s “actively communicating with the Healey-Driscoll administration and stakeholders from the community so that I can prioritize and incorporate the diverse aspirations for parcel’s future use.” 

He said the FY25 state budget will be voted on in July.  

“Closing this prison will result in savings of over $15 million and the avoidance of well over $100 million in needed maintenance,” Cataldo said. 

He is keenly interested in what the redevelopment may mean for the Route 2 rotary, long a vexing problem west of Boston. 

“One of the exciting aspects of this land is the flexibility it affords in finally fixing the rotary,” Cataldo said. “I’m working closely with MassDOT to find solutions for the rotary and news of the closure should shift those discussions to a higher gear.”  

Rep. Carmine Gentile (D-Sudbury) gives credit to Healey and others in her administration. 

“I applaud Department of Correction Commissioner Carol Mici, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy and Gov. Healey for the decision to close MCI-Concord,” he said in an email. 

“I expect that the Criminal Justice Caucus (of which I am a member) will be discussing it with Commissioner Mici at our next meeting with her.” 

Gentile praised the commonwealth for having “the lowest rate of incarceration of any state in the nation and can repurpose real estate no longer needed to incarcerate so many people as it did in yesteryear.” 

Acton’s State Sen. Jamie Eldridge said he’s pleased Healey is addressing the incarcerated population. 

“As someone who grew up in Acton, driving through the Concord Rotary past MCI-Concord on Route 2, looking out on the prison reminded me of the injustices and inequalities that exist in Massachusetts, and the need for all concerned residents, elected officials, responsible parties of crimes, and state agencies and institutions to work together to create a more fair, just and equal Commonwealth,” said Eldridge. He is the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Judiciary and the Criminal Justice Reform Caucus.