Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center

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Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center
Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center is located in Massachusetts
Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center
Location in Massachusetts
LocationLancaster, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates42°31′24″N 71°38′53″W / 42.52333°N 71.64806°W / 42.52333; -71.64806Coordinates: 42°31′24″N 71°38′53″W / 42.52333°N 71.64806°W / 42.52333; -71.64806
Security classSupermax
CapacityOperational Capacity: 1,410 Operational Occupancy: 48%
OpenedSeptember 30, 1998
Managed byMassachusetts Department of Correction
DirectorSuperintendent Dean Gray

Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC) is a maximum security prison in Lancaster, Massachusetts (though it receives mail through a post-office box in the town of Shirley). It is operated by the Massachusetts Department of Correction. It is close to the medium-security prison Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Shirley, which is directly to the north over the town border. Souza-Baranowski opened on September 30, 1998.[1] As of January 6, 2020 SBCC housed 672 inmates in general population beds.[2]

The prison is named in honor of a corrections officer, James Souza, 29, and an instructor Alfred Baranowski, 54, who were shot in July 1972 by an inmate whose wife had smuggled in handguns into what was then the Norfolk Prison Colony.

Souza-Baranowski is the only post-conviction maximum-security state prison in Massachusetts.[3] Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction operates a pre-trial maximum-security "reception and diagnostic center",[4] and the Federal Medical Center, Devens operates at all security levels, including maximum.

COVID-19 Cases[edit]

Pursuant to the Supreme Judicial Court’s April 3, 2020 Opinion and Order in the Committee for Public Counsel Services v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court, SJC-12926 matter, as amended on April 10, April 28 and June 23, 2020 (the “Order”), the Special Master posts weekly reports which are located on the SJC website here for COVID testing and cases for each of the correctional facilities administered by the Department of Correction and each of the county Sheriffs’ offices. The SJC Special master link above has the most up to date information reported by the correctional agencies and is posted for the public to view.


A riot involving 46 inmates on January 9, 2017, was triggered after they were denied showers before returning to their cells from exercise.[5]

On January 10, 2020, an officer was surrounded in the N1 unit (north side) and severely injured.[6] Three other officers were taken to the hospital, six inmates were immediately moved to other facilities, and criminal charges were filed against 16 inmates.[7] In complaints and a lawsuit which triggered an investigation by state legislators, inmates alleged that corrections officers retaliated in the following weeks, including against uninvolved inmates. The complaints included unprovoked beatings and use of stun guns, positional torture, ripping out of hair, underfeeding, confiscation of all clothing, deprivation of personal property, denial of access to lawyers and legal paperwork, failure to follow procedure by videotaping raids and documenting injuries, and use of personnel from other facilities who hid their identities.[8][9] Abuse allegations continued into October.[10]

On February 11, 2020, an officer was doused with liquid and grabbed through a food slot, and then the attacking inmate set items in his room on fire.[11]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts, inmates were only allowed out of cells in small groups to shower and make phone calls. Under these conditions, two inmates were stabbed in a fight on April 6, 2020.[12]

Notable inmates[edit]


  • Jared Remy – Convicted of murdering his girlfriend
  • Alfred Gaynor – Convicted serial killer and rapist
  • Philip Chism – Convicted of murdering his high-school math teacher Colleen Ritzer



  1. ^ Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Accessed May 2015.
  2. ^ "Weekly Inmate Count - 1/6/20".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Massachusetts Department of Correction Locations, page 2
  4. ^ Massachusetts Department of Correction Locations, page 1
  5. ^ Mass. prison riot began over a demand for showers
  6. ^ Correctional officer attacked at state prison in Shirley
  7. ^ 16 inmates facing criminal charges linked to attack on correctional officers at Souza-Baranowski prison]
  8. ^ Inmates at Mass. prison denied full access to attorneys, face abuse from correctional officers, lawsuit says
  9. ^ Brutal crackdown on inmates alleged at Shirley prison
  10. ^ Lawyers Allege Prisoner Mistreatment Continues At Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center
  11. ^ Female officer at Souza-Baranowski assaulted by inmate, DOC says
  12. ^ Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center on lockdown after two inmates stabbed

External links[edit]