Directions, Visiting Policy, Offender Programs
MCI-Norfolk is a medium security facility just south of Boston, with an average daily population of 1524 inmates. MCI-Norfolk is the largest facility of its type in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Though it is rated medium security, MCI-Norfolk has a maximum security perimeter with a wall five thousand feet long and nineteen feet high, enclosing an area of thirty-five acres. Within the confinement of the wall, there is a minimum security environment of eighteen dormitory-style living units and two modular units divided by a large central grass quadrangle. Other buildings within the perimeter provide space for administrative and security personnel, health services, support staff and services, and other vocational and educational programs.
Originally opened as the first 'community-based' prison in the United States, the history and background of MCI-Norfolk is detailed and fascinating. The first of the MCI-Norfolk inmates were transferred from the state prison in Charlestown in 1927, and lived in houses in The Oval, which is currently at the southwest corner of the wall surrounding the compound. In its early years of operation, a major portion of the present institution, including the prison wall, was constructed by inmates who lived in the State Prison Colony. The more spacious and campus-like atmosphere and architecture permitted an approach to 'community life' that was not available at other institutions, and represented a new step in Massachusetts Penology. In the mid 1950's, the name of the prison was officially changed to the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Norfolk.