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Massachusetts 'Prison' Town Rounding Up New Lockups

From: "Robert gehri" 
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 10:02:18 -0800
Subject: Massachusetts 'Prison' Town Rounding Up New Lockups

Massachusetts 'Prison' Town Rounding Up New Lockups; Bulldog Edition
( Los Angeles Times )

Massachusetts 'Prison' Town Rounding Up New Lockups

Los Angeles Times   Sunday July 14, 1996
Bulldog Edition
Part A, Page 17
Type of Material: Wire

   LANCASTER, Mass.--Residents of this bedroom community of 6,200 already
have thousands of criminals in their midst, and they're about to get
thousands more. Soon, four prisons will stand within a few miles of their
homes and schools.

   Some towns would bristle at the idea, but here, the prison industry is
driving the local economy and complainers appear few and far between.

   "Getting this money was important to running the town," said John
Bailey, the chairman of the Board of Selectmen. "It really is a bonanza
for Lancaster."

   This summer's ground-breaking on a $130-million maximum-security
prison will pave the way for 1,024 cells in a town that is already home
to two state prisons. Together, they hold nearly 1,500 prisoners.

   Also, a minimum-security federal prison for 1,000 inmates is planned
at Ft. Devens, the recently closed Army base that is partly in Lancaster.

   The community, about 32 miles northwest of Boston, beat out two other
towns--Bridgewater and Gardner--for the honor of becoming home to the
state's most dangerous criminals.

   "They were lobbying the state for the new prison facility," said
Department of Corrections spokesman Tony Carnevale. "It was far from a
case of 'not in my backyard.' "

   Indeed, if the new prison were to be built 20 feet farther away, the
state's $10.24-million "mitigation" payment would have gone to
neighboring Shirley. Instead, Lancaster will get half.

   The existing lockups include the medium-security MCI-Shirley and the
minimum-security MCI-Lancaster. The new prison, set to open in 1998, was
approved by selectmen and residents at two town meetings.

   "We'd be crazy not to do it," Bailey said.

   Besides the $5.1-million mitigation payment, the town will receive
another $500,000 to offset previous expansion of MCI-Lancaster.

   Families thinking of settling in this wooded town have always asked
about the taxes and the schools. Now, some are asking about the prisons.

Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times, 1996.

MICHAEL TIGHE, Massachusetts 'Prison' Town Rounding Up New Lockups; Bulldog
Edition., Los Angeles Times, 07-14-1996, pp A-17.

Robert Smith



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