Officials to Fight E. Cambridge Prison

Plan 'Comprehensive Legal Strategy'

City officials yesterday announced the first step in a legal strategy to prevent the opening of a prisoner intake and classification center at the East Cambridge courthouse.

Cambridge city councilors will subpoena the Middlesex County commissioners, district attorney, sheriff and the state director of corrections, requiring them to meet with the council next week.

One hundred and twenty-five East Cambridge residents appeared at Wednesday's council meeting to protest the proposed center, complaining that they had not been consulted before state corrections officials announced the plans last week.

Prisoners would spend 30 to 45 days at the jail before being transferred to other institutions under the state's proposal.

The council voted Wednesday night to order the city solicitor to research ways to prevent the center from opening on the top floors of the Thorndike St. courthouse, which now houses prisoners awaiting trial.

Those methods may include denying a certificate of occupancy and investigating fire hazards in the building.

The council also asked the city's representatives to the state legislature to attempt to block funding for the center.

One Takes Two

"It's like putting Walpole in East Cambridge," Richard McKinnon, the council's legislative assistant, said yesterday. "And no one even told the people of East Cambridge before it happened," he added.