Bay State Correctional Facility to Shelter 450 Undocumented Immigrants

A former Massachusetts prison will be converted into an overflow shelter for 450 undocumented immigrants starting mid-June. The facility will provide amenities and services, but local officials have raised concerns about the potential strain on infrastructure and public safety resources.

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Nitish Verma
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Bay State Correctional Facility to Shelter 450 Undocumented Immigrants

Bay State Correctional Facility to Shelter 450 Undocumented Immigrants

The Bay State Correctional Facility in Norfolk, Massachusetts, a former minimum-security prison decommissioned nearly a decade ago, is set to be converted into an overflow shelter for 450 undocumented immigrants starting mid-June. The move comes amid concerns over families being housed at Logan Airport.

Why this matters: This development highlights the ongoing struggle to address the influx of undocumented immigrants in the United States, and the creative solutions being explored to provide temporary housing and support services. As the federal government continues to grapple with immigration reform, local and state governments are taking matters into their own hands, with potential implications for community resources and public safety.

According to state officials, the facility remains in good condition despite being out of commission for almost 10 years. It has the capacity to accommodate around 140 families, providing access to showers, bathrooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, a large common room, and offices for case management and administrative activities. Play areas for children and classroom spaces for adults will also be set up, offering activities such as English for Speakers of Other Languages classes, job training courses, and housing search workshops.

The facility is expected to be operational by next month, with families staying at the site subject to the 30-day engagement requirements. The razor wire on the fence surrounding the facility will be removed, and the gates will remain open to allow families to come and go as needed.

However, State Rep. Marcus Vaughn expressed concerns about the impact on local infrastructure, stating, "This development will strain our school systems in Norfolk and at King Philip Middle and High School and will likely impact public safety infrastructure." Vaughn committed to transparency, promising to provide further updates as more information becomes available from the Governor's office.

The decision to convert the correctional facility into a shelter comes as the Massachusetts prison population has decreased by nearly half in less than a decade, resulting in the lowest incarceration rates in 35 years. The state is considering alternative uses for decommissioned correctional facilities, with Governor Maura Healey's administration announcing the closure of MCI-Concord, a medium-security men's prison, by this summer.

The Bay State Correctional Facility's conversion into an overflow shelter for undocumented immigrant families is set to begin in mid-June, with a capacity of 450 individuals. While the facility is expected to provide necessary amenities and services, concerns have been raised about the potential strain on local infrastructure and public safety resources in Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Key Takeaways

  • Boston's Bay State Correctional Facility to become shelter for 450 undocumented immigrants.
  • Facility will provide amenities like showers, cafeteria, and classrooms for families.
  • Conversion expected to be complete by mid-June, with 30-day stay limit.
  • Local officials raise concerns about strain on schools and public safety resources.
  • State considers alternative uses for decommissioned prisons amid declining population.