Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction

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Massachusetts Correctional Institution—Cedar Junction
Location Walpole / Norfolk, Massachusetts (South Walpole postal address, ZIP code 02071)
Coordinates 42°6′20.1″N 71°17′23.9″W / 42.105583°N 71.289972°W / 42.105583; -71.289972Coordinates: 42°6′20.1″N 71°17′23.9″W / 42.105583°N 71.289972°W / 42.105583; -71.289972
Security class Level 6 (Maximum)[1]
Capacity 633
Population 722[2] (as of January 1, 2017)
Opened 1955
Managed by Massachusetts Department of Correction
Director Acting Superintendent Michael Rodrigues

The Massachusetts Correctional Institution—Cedar Junction (MCI-Cedar Junction), formerly known as MCI-Walpole, is a maximum security prison with an average daily population of approximately 800 adult male inmates under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. It was opened in 1956 to replace Charlestown State Prison, the oldest prison in the nation at that time. MCI-Cedar Junction is one of two (the other one being Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center) maximum security prisons for male offenders in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MCI-Cedar Junction also houses the Departmental Disciplinary Unit (DDU). During the 1970s, Cedar Junction (then known as Walpole) was one of the most violent prisons in the United States.[3] It is located on both sides of the line between the towns of Walpole and Norfolk, and has a South Walpole mailing address. (South Walpole is not a political entity.)

In 1955, Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, built Our Lady of the Ransom Chapel at the center of the prison.

In 1988, the prison was host to Mother Teresa for two hours on her tour through the state's prisons.[citation needed]

As of June 2009, MCI-Cedar Junction is now the Department of Correction's reception and diagnostic center which receives all new male court commitments within the Commonwealth.

1973 Uprising[edit]

After the Attica prison massacre, the residents of Walpole formed a prisoners' union to protect themselves from guards, end behavioral modification programs, advocate for the prisoners' right to education and healthcare, and attain more visitation rights, work assignments, and the ability to send money to their families. The union also ended race-related violence within the prison, creating a general truce, including an ethnic truce and an agreement to kill any inmate who broke said truce. During the black prisoner's Kwanzaa celebration, the black prisoners were placed in lockdown, angering the whole facility and leading to a general strike. Prisoners refused to work or leave their cells for three months, leading to the guards beating prisoners, putting prisoners in solitary confinement, and denying prisoners medical care and food.[4]

The strike ended in the prisoners' favor as the superintendent of the prison resigned. The prisoners were granted more visitation rights and work programs. Angered by this, the prison guards went on strike and abandoned the prison, hoping that this would create chaos and violence throughout the prison. But the prisoners were able to create an anarchist community where recidivism dropped dramatically and murders and rapes fell to zero. The guards retook the prison after two months, leading to many prison administrators and bureaucrats quitting their jobs and embracing the prison abolition movement.[5] Acting Supt. Michael Rodriques was removed from duty in January of 2018 due to an internal investigation determining he was complicit in a harrasment of an employee targeted at MCI-CJ resulting in legal action being filed against him and the department. He was transferred to MCI-Concord prison as part of an informal discipline process executed by Commissioner Thomas Turco as the prison is farther away from his house.


  1. ^ "Security Levels". Mass. Executive Office of Public Safety. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  2. ^ Massachusetts Department of Corrections. "Inmate and prison research statistics: January 1, trends snapshot". Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ Kauffman, Kelsey. Prison Officers and Their World. Harvard University Press. 1988
  4. ^ Gelderloos, Peter. Anarchy Works. 
  5. ^ Bisonnette, Jamie (2008). When the prisoners ran Walpole: a true story in the movement for prison abolition. Cambridge: South End Press. 

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