The state of Massachusetts had been operating two private prisons. These two private prisons are Ashfield Correctional Center and North Central Correctional Institution. However, there is only one active private prison at the moment, as the contract of Ashfield Correctional Center was terminated in 2018.
In 2019, there were 8,205 inmates in Massachusetts state prisons. 1,272 of them were detained in private prisons. This accounts for around 15% of the state's jail population.
Moreover, private prisons have been contentious in Massachusetts. Some believe that private prisons are less expensive than state prisons, while others contend that convicts do not receive the same degree of care.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction stated in 2017 that it would not renew its contract with GEO Group to run the Ashfield Correctional Centre. This decision was taken partly due to concerns regarding the facility's quality of care.
List Of Private Prisons In The State Of Massachusetts
Ashfield Correctional Center
Ashfield Correctional Centre, located in Ashfield, Massachusetts, is a former private prison. It was run by the GEO Group and could accommodate 1,024 offenders. The jail first opened its doors in 1986 and closed in 2018.
Moreover, Ashfield Correctional Centre was a male-only minimum-security prison. The bulk of the convicts in the jail were serving drug-related terms. Inmates awaiting trial were also kept at the prison.
Inmates had access to a variety of programs and services inside the jail, including education, vocational training, and drug addiction treatment. The prison also had a medical clinic and a mental health section.
In 2017, The Massachusetts Department of Correction stated that it would not extend its contract with GEO Group to run Ashfield Correctional Centre. Hence, the jail was closed in 2018.
The town of Ashfield presently owns the site, which is being utilized for various purposes.
North Central Correctional Institution
North Central Correctional Institution (NCCI) is a medium-security prison in Gardner, Massachusetts. CoreCivic operates it under contract with the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The jail can house 1,248 prisoners.
NCCI first opened its doors in 1985. The jail is a converted state hospital with several dormitory-style apartments. Additionally, adult male offenders receiving sentences ranging from 2.5 years to life are among the inmates.
Moreover, NCCI provides inmates with a wide range of programs and services, including education, vocational training, drug addiction treatment, and mental health care. A medical facility, as well as a dental clinic, are also available in the jail.
On weekends and holidays, inmates at NCCI are permitted to receive visitors. Before entering the prison, visitors must go through a security screening. NCCI has been the source of some debate.
According to a 2017 assessment by the Massachusetts Department of Correction, the prison has a high rate of violence. According to the study, the prison was overcrowded, and detainees were not receiving proper medical treatment.
In response to the findings, CoreCivic stated that it is dedicated to providing safe and compassionate treatment for convicts at NCCI.
The firm has indicated that it is addressing the concerns mentioned in the study, such as lowering congestion and enhancing medical treatment.
Why There Is A Lack Of Private Prisons In Massachusetts?
In 2018, the state legislature approved legislation prohibiting the use of private prisons. Concerns about the quality of care in private prisons, as well as the possibility of corruption, prompted the legislation.
The legislation forbids the government from contracting with private businesses to run prisons or jails. It also makes it illegal for the state to house convicts in private prisons or jails run by other states or the federal government.
A number of advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Bail Fund, backed the bill. These organizations contended that private prisons are less safe and humane than state prisons and that they are more likely to violate inmates' rights.
Cost Of Private Prisons
Holding convicts in private prisons is sometimes more expensive than keeping them in state prisons. This is due to the fact that private jail corporations must earn a profit, which can raise the cost of treatment.
Potential For Corruption
When private organizations are in charge of running prisons, there is a risk of corruption. Private jail companies, for example, have been accused of bribing authorities in order to gain contracts.
Inadequate Quality Of Care
Concerns have been raised concerning the quality of care in private prisons. Private jail inmates have been shown to be more likely to be subjected to assault, refused medical care, and placed in solitary confinement.