Prison Moratorium Language

Many people have contacted Senator Brownsberger about the issue of a prison moratorium.

Senator Brownsberger’s view on the prison moratorium issue is summarized in the paragraph below, which Senator Brownsberger has provided as a response to constituents contacting him regarding the prison moratorium issue:

No one — not even the Department of Corrections — wants to build new prisons or even to renovate facilities in a way that net add capacity. 

However, I do think it is important to be able to improve conditions for men and women in prison.

Senator Brownsberger’s standard reply on this issue

The recent Boston Globe editorial, “Put the Brakes on the Prison Moratorium“, makes many good points that are in line with Senator Brownsberger’s view on the prison moratorium issue.

On Wednesday, July 20, House and Senate conferees agreed on a final draft General Government Bond Bill. Section 3 is the provision pertaining to a moratorium on prison construction.

The final bill prison moratorium language reads as follows:

SECTION 3. Chapter 7C of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 73. (a) For the purposes of this section, “correctional facility” shall have the same meaning as provided in section 1 of chapter 125.
(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a state agency or public agency shall not:
(i) study, plan, design, acquire, lease, search for sites or construct new correctional facilities;
(ii) expand, convert, renovate or activate an existing or dormant correctional facility beyond its current number of beds unless such expansion, conversion, renovation or activation is for the purpose of accommodating a transfer of incarcerated people caused by the temporary or permanent closure of another correctional facility; or
(iii) increase the number of beds of the department of corrections.

Source: General Government Bond Bill — Conference Report.

Sections 4 and 15 of the bill repeal this moratorium language in five years.

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4 Comments

  1. I wish I could still be disappointed by you, Senator, but this kind of misinformation and schilling for the DOC has sadly become typical for you and the committees you control. The first sentence of your “standard response” is a lie: the DOC, EOPSS, DCAMM filed 3 RFPs for a new prison for women since 2019. HDR has been contracted for the design of a new women’s prison. The Ripples Group eventually passed in an error-riddled, biased report recommending further incarceration of women. Yes, the DOC wants to build a new prison, Senator. It is a shocking lie to tell constituents otherwise.

    No version of the moratorium has ever prevented repairs. Please read the actual text; it is extremely straightforward language. And, if you wish to talk about living conditions for the women and people incarcerated in MCI-Framingham, the DOC has had 30 years to make the prison ADA accessible, for example. They have decades of failed health inspections they could have addressed at any time before incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women of color began demanding more than a new prison, demanding freedom. If the DOC (or sheriffs) cared to provide even livable conditions for the people they incarcerate, they have had plenty of time and, god knows, more than enough money to address basic structural needs. They are not improving buildings while they have legislators like you talking about how badly they want to improve buildings. They have chosen time and time again not to meet the basic needs of incarcerated people.

    Senator, go spend 24 hours in a prison in this heatwave. It is your right as a legislator. Go unannounced. And tell me the DOC is not currently guilty of cruel treatment of people in its dubious “care.” To refer to the Globe Opinion article is to endorse the accusation formerly incarcerated women who wrote and passed the moratorium of not caring about their sisters left behind bars. You know better, or should; Black women have poured so much of their knowledge into you. How thankless to write an memo like this. How shameful.

      1. Sir, “past studies?” The Ripples report was published a month ago. How disingenuous.

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