Top 10 Worst Prisons in Massachusetts
Top 10 Worst Prisons in Massachusetts

Top 10 Worst Prisons in Massachusetts


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the top 10 worst prisons in Massachusetts. In this article, we will delve into the dark side of the state’s correctional facilities, exploring their conditions, controversies, and reputations. Massachusetts, known for its rich history and cultural landmarks, also harbors some notorious prisons that have gained infamy over the years.

Whether you’re curious about the state’s penal system or conducting research, join us on this eye-opening journey through the top 10 worst prisons in Massachusetts.

1. Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction

Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction, commonly referred to as Cedar Junction, holds the notoriety of being one of the most notorious and dangerous prisons in the state. With a maximum-security designation, Cedar Junction houses some of Massachusetts’ most violent offenders. The prison has been plagued by incidents of violence, drug trafficking, and gang activities.

2. Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center

The Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center is infamous for its tumultuous history. Located in Shirley, Massachusetts, this maximum-security prison has witnessed multiple incidents of violence and inmate deaths. In 2019, the prison gained significant media attention when a notorious gang member was brutally attacked by fellow inmates, highlighting the dangers within its walls.

3. Old Colony Correctional Center

The Old Colony Correctional Center, situated in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, is another prison with a troubled past. This medium-security facility has faced several lawsuits due to allegations of inmate mistreatment and inadequate medical care. Overcrowding issues and security concerns have plagued Old Colony, making it one of the worst prisons in the state.

4. Massachusetts Treatment Center

The Massachusetts Treatment Center, located in Bridgewater, serves as a correctional facility for mentally ill inmates. While the institution aims to provide mental health treatment to incarcerated individuals, it has faced severe criticism for its inadequate staffing, resulting in subpar care for the mentally ill population. The Massachusetts Treatment Center struggles to strike a balance between security and rehabilitation.

5. Plymouth County Correctional Facility

The Plymouth County Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Plymouth, Massachusetts, has faced various controversies over the years. In 2017, the prison garnered attention when six inmates escaped, exposing flaws in its security measures. The facility has also been accused of mistreatment and excessive use of force by correctional officers, further tarnishing its reputation.

6. Northeastern Correctional Center

Situated in Concord, Massachusetts, the Northeastern Correctional Center is a medium-security facility that primarily focuses on preparing inmates for reintegration into society. However, the prison has struggled with high rates of violence and limited resources for rehabilitation programs. These issues hinder the facility’s ability to effectively support inmate reentry and contribute to its negative reputation.

7. Suffolk County Jail

Suffolk County Jail, located in Boston, Massachusetts, serves as a pretrial detention facility for individuals awaiting trial or sentencing. The jail has been criticized for its overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and lack of adequate medical care. In recent years, efforts have been made to improve conditions at Suffolk County Jail, but it still remains one of the worst prisons in Massachusetts.

8. North Central Correctional Institution

North Central Correctional Institution, based in Gardner, Massachusetts, is a medium-security prison that focuses on substance abuse treatment and vocational training programs. However, the facility has faced scrutiny due to incidents of violence, including assaults on both inmates and staff. These safety concerns overshadow the positive aspects of the institution’s rehabilitation efforts.

9. MCI-Framingham

MCI-Framingham, a women’s prison located in Framingham, Massachusetts, has a troubling history marked by allegations of abuse and neglect. Over the years, the facility has faced numerous lawsuits, with claims ranging from improper medical care to the mistreatment of pregnant inmates. The poor conditions and treatment of women at MCI-Framingham contribute to its inclusion on this list.

10. Bay State Correctional Center

Bay State Correctional Center, situated in Norfolk, Massachusetts, is a medium-security prison notorious for its gang activity and violence. The facility has struggled to maintain control over the inmate population, resulting in frequent altercations and security breaches. The persistent security challenges make Bay State Correctional Center one of the worst prisons in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are these prisons still operational?

Yes, all the prisons mentioned in this article are currently operational. However, it’s important to note that conditions and circumstances within these facilities may change over time.

What measures are being taken to improve conditions in these prisons?

Efforts are being made to address the issues faced by these prisons, including improving security, enhancing inmate rehabilitation programs, and ensuring adequate staffing levels. However, progress may vary depending on the specific institution and its resources.

Do these prisons offer any educational or vocational programs for inmates?

Many of these prisons provide educational and vocational programs aimed at equipping inmates with skills for a successful reintegration into society. However, the effectiveness and availability of these programs may differ across institutions.

How do these prisons compare to others in the United States?

While the prisons listed here have significant challenges, it’s important to note that conditions in correctional facilities can vary widely across the country. Each state has its own unique set of circumstances, and comparisons should be made with caution.

What steps are being taken to ensure the safety of correctional officers in these prisons?

State authorities and correctional agencies are constantly working to enhance the safety of correctional officers through improved training, security protocols, and the implementation of technological advancements to monitor inmate activities.

Can these prisons be rehabilitated to provide better conditions for inmates?

With concerted efforts, adequate resources, and a focus on inmate rehabilitation and security, there is potential for these prisons to improve. However, it would require sustained commitment from the relevant authorities and stakeholders.


The top 10 worst prisons in Massachusetts represent a mix of maximum-security and medium-security facilities that have garnered negative attention due to various issues. From violence and mistreatment allegations to inadequate rehabilitation programs and security concerns, these prisons face significant challenges. While efforts are being made to address these issues, the road to improvement remains long and complex. It is crucial for society to recognize the importance of a fair and effective correctional system that promotes both security and rehabilitation.

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