WBUR

Mass. Prison Plan Outlines Inmate Needs

BOSTON — The Patrick administration is predicting that Massachusetts will need space for an additional 10,000 inmates by the end of the decade.

A prison master plan released by the administration Thursday calls for construction of new jails and prisons — but also for reductions in sentences.

The state Public Safety secretary, Mary Beth Heffernan, says both approaches are essential.

“We can’t build our way out of a $2 billion problem,” she said. “We need to handle the fact that we have aging facilities, we have an aging prison population, that we have a sicker prison population.”

The plan also calls for building two or three assisted-living centers for the increasing number of older inmates with medical problems.

Heffernan says that the new facilities can be paid for by changing mandatory sentence laws for drug offenders.

“We need to change the way we deal with non-violent drug offenders, but we also need to make sure that habitual violent felons are kept in prison for the time that they need to be there,” she said.

The expected cost of the plan is $550 million.

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  • Noju

    How about we stop putting non-violent peaceful people in jail.  That will solve the problem. Good work once again throwing billions of dollars at a problem that can be solved without any money.

  • Anonymous

    Why not use the 550 million for prevention and treatment. Studies show that prevention and treatment are a lot cheaper and dramatically cuts recidivism. Our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers are suffering with addiction and mental health issues. They’re closing all the detoxes and it’s impossible to get someone into any kind of long term treatment. No funding. If you just throw them in prison they’ll be back.
    How are you going to feel when your own HIV+ daughter is strung out on heroin and awaiting trial in Framingham?People who make money on the (for profit) justice system and human misery will realize one day that they could of saved the very souls they condemned. 

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