Letters: Missing in prison debate: the current prisoners 

February 19, 2024

It feels discouraging to me to hear many talking about the unexpected closing of MCI-Concord with so little mention of concern or curiosity about the remaining prisoners.  

Where are they going? How old are they, generally, and how long have they been in the prison in Concord? “The numbers of prisoners are declining.” Why? “The Northeastern Correctional Facility will not be affected.” How will this happen, in practical terms, if the prisoners live in other prisons far away?  

The whole conversation seems focused on the impact of this closing of a longstanding prison in our town, on the local economy, and on travel concerns of commuters who use the rotary to get from suburb to city.  

Officials are upset that so little pre-decision discussion with Concord was invited. Valid, but the focus only addresses what this change in a large property ownership will have on the economic structures of the town, the tax base, business development, and the traffic flow. 

I just wonder how the village surrounding a longstanding prison became so distant from goals, ideas and experience of prisons on prisoners; also on staff and volunteers, on updates of ways locations impact change and crime. We don’t seem to consider them as our temporary neighbors in struggles through modern times. 

When prisoners are moved to different locations, are transportation plans being made for their families?  Will we miss seeing them walking from the train stops to the prison and back? Can we support them in some way, even as we rush to grab the local property? 

Programs are developed and changed as if the people in them were inanimate commodities to be supported or dropped on the ideas of leaders that change, or the marketplace. We should do better.  

Cassie Quinlan  

Derby Street