MCI-Concord's looming walls and guard towers beside the West Concord rotary are a local landmark. Photo: Mapquest

MCI-Concord will shut down in June

By Jennifer Lord Paluzzi
January 23, 2024

MCI-Concord, the state’s oldest running state prison for men, will be shutting down in June, according to State Sen. Michael Barrett.

“The intention is to close the prison completely by the end of June,” said Barrett, who was informed about the closing Tuesday by the Department of Correction.

The prison, opened in 1878, has been operating at 58 percent capacity, about 400 inmates. Those men will be dispersed to other state prisons.

“ We have been aiming as a legislature and in general to reduce the number of people incarcerated,” Barrett said, “Obviously, this is a big deal. People are going to be upset, people are going to be caught off guard.”

No one will be losing their jobs, he added. Corrections officers will also be transferred to other facilities, easing a statewide shortage of prison guards.

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The prison is a stark block of high walls and barbed wire on the Route 2 rotary, with a total capacity of 614 general population beds. Its 64 acres are owned by the state—which brings intriguing potential for development.

“This is disconcerting,” Barrett said. “The future use of that land is going to become a very important issue. It’s a great location, potentially, for housing.”

Among the past residents of the prison was Malcolm X, who served 15 months in 1947-1948. John Geoghan, a priest defrocked during the sex abuse investigation in the Boston Archdiocese, was in protective custody at the institution prior to his transfer to the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, where he was murdered by another inmate.

Photo by Massachusetts Department of Corrections