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· MassCops Angel
121,617 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Shirley inmates stage a protest

Many inmates at the maximum security prison in Shirley may soon have to double up in their cells, under a plan by the state Department of Correction to contend with the highest inmate count in 20 years.
Department spokeswoman Diane Wiffin confirmed that the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center would become the only maximum security facility in the state to have double-bunking, but she would not specify how many beds are being added or when inmates will be moved in together.
Steve Kenneway, president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, said the corrections commissioner told him that the agency is installing 500 beds. That would increase the inmate count by 40 percent to 50 percent.
Inmates at the Shirley prison, who sometimes spend more than 20 hours a day in their cells, protested the installation of additional beds last week. On Sept. 29, a group of about 50 prisoners took over the dining hall from 6 to 9:30 p.m., ripping a door off at least one refrigeration unit and turning broomsticks and mop handles into weapons, Kenneway said. According to the Department of Correction, no one was injured in the incident.
"What we witnessed there was a peaceful demonstration, a sit-in if you will," Kenneway said. "I don't think we'll be as lucky next time."
Leslie Walker, executive director of the not-for-profit Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, said her office received dozens of letters and phone calls from prisoners threatening to protest double bunking. (She could not share the prisoners' letters with the newspaper without their permission.)
"That type of confinement is difficult on anyone, but it's especially difficult if you have two people in a small cell," she said. "There are people who have had single cells for 20 and 30 years, and they are not looking forward to sharing a very small space."
Across the country, double-celling has been allowed since 1981, when the US Supreme Court ruled that state prisons can house two inmates in a cell designed for one.
Still, Kenneway argues that putting two Souza-Baranowski prisoners, including murderers, mass murderers, child murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, into the same cell will lead to an increase in violence.
"There are some inmates out there who are going to make a choice whether to accept a roommate or kill their roommate. That's not an exaggeration," he said. "There are going to be not just fights and stabbings; there may be murders."
This is a fear that has come up in inmates' letters, Walker said.
"There are many prisoners at Souza-Baranowski who are mentally ill - who are not violent but vulnerable - and they are terrified of the potential for violence this will create," she said.
Double-bunking at maximum security facilities is done in many other states and by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
In New York, 5,233 inmates, or about 20 percent of all maximum security prisoners, are sharing a cell, said Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the New York Department of Correctional Services. Connecticut has double-celled inmates at maximum security prisons for as long as the prison system existed, according to Andrius Banevicius, a spokesman for that state's Department of Correction.
In California, some inmates in maximum security prisons are double-celled, although not those on death row, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
"There have been instances where two cellmates got into fights and unfortunately we had some in-cell homicides as well," she said.
"You just have to be very careful about which two inmates you put in a cell."
MCI-Cedar Junction, a maximum security prison in South Walpole, installed bunk beds in the early 1990s, but never implemented double-celling because the Correction Officers Union challenged the plan, Kenneway said. Now some Cedar Junction inmates are being told by prison staff that they will be moved to Souza-Baranowski once double bunks are in place there, according to Walker.
The correction officers union is negotiating with the prison's management on double-bunking at the Souza-Baranowski facility. Kenneway says staffing might become an issue because double bunking would "double the workload for every correctional officer," but he said the department also needs to figure out how to take care of the additional prisoners.
"How are you going to feed this many more inmates? How are you going to provide recreation and showers?" he asked. "They have no answers."
The next meeting between the Department of Correction and the correction officers union is scheduled for Thursday, Wiffin said.

· I think, therefore I'll never be promoted.
19,090 Posts
"Hey inmates, let's all have a little nostalgic fun. Remember when people used to see how many folks they could squeaze into a phone booth? Well, let's do that with cells! What fun we'll have.

Now, where did we put that key to get you out?"

I remember having to 24-bunk in one room when I was in basic training, but for the life of me I can't remember anyone protesting or even complaining about it.

· Registered
1,510 Posts
I have no problem with Dbl. bunking, but wish all the Officers the best of luck with the tension that is building up. I want all you guys to stay safe and watch your backs.
I went through a roit because of changes in a jail back in 2002 on Easter day. They tore the place apart and I had friends that were hurt. I was lucky that I was able to get out after 200-300 inmates stormed my unit coming after me and my partner.
Just stay safe and work as a team guys.

· Subscribing Member
1,162 Posts
This is a problem everywhere, and not just in the state system. Essex County has basically turned every large room in to a housing facility. There are presently 3 "vocational units" which are military style open bunk barracks. One used to be a warhouse storage area, and the other used to be the tool room. When I was working there, these were used for "new men". These are guy's who are just off the street. Half of them are dope sick, and as a staff you don't know anything about them, so they could be violent pricks, or the type that get preyed on, and they are all lumped together with you, with no cell doors. Can't "lock it in" like real jail, beacuse there is no place for them to go. Never seemed like a good idea to me.

It is my understanding that Essex has now cancelled indoor gym privligies, and is how housing inmates in the gymnasium. I worked in the Infirmary. We had about 27 actual beds. Our count during the busy seaons was up around 55. We had new men sleeping in an open room with psychiatric patients/inmates, and inmates who were seriously ill. We were pressured to have inmates who were on suicide watch downgraded by the mental health staff, or moved to a 120 man segregaton unit so they could be "watched" there. It's a sad and unsafe situation. I don't cry for the inmates, but for the officers who have to deal with all the crap, and the eventual dangerous situation that is going to come if something is not done soon.

· Registered
1 Posts
I think it is a dangerous situation... for inmates and the Correctional Officers.. My brother is an inmate and I also have a friend that is a Correctional Officer... I guess they say u do the crime you do the time.. But, you cant put a bank robber and a child molester in the same cell.. the child molester will get killed.. not that he dont deserve it.. The Correctional Officers dont get paid enough to risk there lifes to deal with this. especially if they have a family to go home to.. its a no win situation.. but the inmates need to bite the bullet and deal with it.. prison isnt suppose to be the five star hotel.. :wink_smile:

· Premium Member
2,371 Posts
This thread is over two years old.
Yes, but we all need to understand the subtle suggestion that we should have sympathy for her state prison sentenced asshole of a brother.

· Registered
3,111 Posts
In Massachusetts to get jail time or prison time you have to be a criminal since judges are so laid back so any inmate in these facilities is dangerous all I care is that the COs go home safely and the inmates are prevented from escaping.
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