The making of MCI-Norfolk: Highlights from the prison’s past

1927

The state deploys prison inmates to begin construction of a new facility in Norfolk.

1932

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The Norfolk State Prison Colony gains recognition as the country’s first “community-based” prison. Inmates can study such subjects as debating, gardening, music, and drama.

1942

Norfolk inmates volunteer to be human guinea pigs in medical experiments for the World War II effort.

1943

Norfolk inmates buy enough war bonds to have an Army bomber named for Arthur St. Germain, a 27-year-old prisoner from Haverhill who died after being injected with an experimental serum.

1945

The US Navy commends Norfolk inmates for participating in the wartime experiments.

1948

Malcolm Little, the future Malcolm X, is transferred to Norfolk.

1953

Norfolk’s debate team beats Harvard — for the sixth time.

Mid-1950s

The facility is renamed the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Norfolk.