The LePage administration is endorsing legislation to build a new pre-release center in Washington County. However, lawmakers are concerned that the new center would do little to offset the impact of closing of the Downeast Correctional Facility.
Aaron Chadbourne, a senior policy advisor to Governor LePage, told members of the legislature’s criminal Justice committee that the new facility would house only 20 inmates while the recently-closed Downeast Correctional Facility held as many as 150.
“Starting with a smaller site that is leaner in its operating costs, there is the opportunity to open perhaps futures satellites, expecting we are successful with this model,” says Chadbourne.
Employers from Washington County have say they have depended on downeast for workers and that 20 inmates wouldn’t do much to help the labor pool.
Funding to build a pre-release center was included in legislation approved in 2016, bus so far nothing has been done to move forward on the project.
“The administration is prepared to move forward if legislative approval is provided to open such a facility at a new site in Washington County in an expedient manner provided that the facility is lean, cost effective and focused on successful reentry of prisoners in post incarceration life,” says Chadbourne.