BOSTON (WWLP) – On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate legislature passed a general government bond bill that includes language related to prison construction.
The Bond Bill will do more than just fund construction for public facilities, it will also put a five year moratorium on prison construction. Funding for construction will be divided up into a wide variety of projects, including for state universities and community colleges, hospitals and courts.
It also included funding to address climate change, with $400 million being allocated to reduce environmental impacts of state-owned buildings and $64 million for local governments to provide safe and renewable sources of drinking water.
The prison moratorium included in the bill would pause any correctional facility construction or expansion in Massachusetts. The house approved similar language last month. Baker administration officials believe an outright stop to construction or renovation could hurt their abilities to make needed upgrades to existing correctional facilities.
Many democratic lawmakers believe the money that would be spent on construction and upgrades of correctional facilities can be better spent on diversion and treatment services. Last year, the Baker administration was considering building a new women’s prison in Norfolk to replace MCI-Framingham, the oldest women’s prison of its kind in the country.
That project would cost an estimated 50 million dollars.