Criminal Justice Committee Votes Unanimously to Save the Downeast Correctional Facility

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuell Maker
AUGUSTA – On Monday, March 20, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety voted unanimously to kill the proposal that would have eliminated funding for the Downeast Correctional Facility included in the governor’s biennial budget.

Dozens of Washington County residents and employees of the Downeast Correctional Facility were in the committee room and witnessed the vote.

“I wish to extend our thanks and our gratitude to the Criminal Justice Committee for unanimously supporting Washington County in voting to maintain funding to the facility through the next biennial budget,” said Senator Joyce Maker (R-Washington).

“This facility has been under fire frequently over the last several years, which has been tough on the 55 people who make their living at the prison, the municipalities and non-profits that benefit from tens of thousands of hours of community service, the area businesses that utilize the prison’s work-release program to cover seasonal staffing demands and the prisoners themselves who learn new skills and make connections while serving their time at DCF.

“Defunding the facility would have delivered a devastating blow to the residents of Washington County; words can’t express the relief we now feel.”

“It was evident in the committee room today just how much this means to our area. 2,500-plus people signed petitions to keep this open and hundreds and hundreds people rallied behind it and we’re just thrilled to the brim. And if we have to come back and fight this battle again, we’ll do just that,” said Rep. Will Tuell (R-East Machias).

Rep. Tuell also presented a Legislative Sentiment Kevin Millay, who worked at the facility for 30 years, starting as a corrections officer in 1985. He retired in June of 2016.

The proposal faces one final vote in the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, but it is expected they will support the decision to keep the jail open.

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