Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hon. Joyce Maker, Rep. Will Tuell, Sen. Marianne Moore
AUGUSTA – Senator Marianne Moore (R-Washington) and Rep. Will Tuell (R-East Machias) testified in support of their bills to reopen the shuttered Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF) before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, March 27.
Sen. Moore’s bill LD 608, “An Act To Provide Funding for a Correctional Facility in Downeast Maine,” is a concept draft that would use the $10 million bond passed in 2016 that was meant to pay for capital repairs at DCF to repair and reopen a smaller version of the former facility. The downsized campus would house 50 inmates in the previous location, and would save money by not requiring the use of all existing buildings.
“In 2016, the Washington County community was promised $10 million to improve and update the existing DCF campus,” said Sen. Moore. “My bill would simply use the money that was promised then to bring at least part of the former facility back into operation, putting up to 50 inmates back to work in area businesses that rely on the labor force that was once generated by the facility, and bringing back a handful of good-paying jobs with benefits to our area.
“While I know there has been talk about exploring new locations for a new facility in Washington County, I think it’s important to recognize that the present location provides important total stakeholder support from the community, employers, etc. that is so important for the success of a work release facility like DCF to succeed.”
Rep. Will Tuell’s bill, LD 128, “An Act To Reopen the Downeast Correctional Facility,” would reopen DCF to its former capacity at the existing location.
“I am very supportive of reopening DCF, but reopen means reopen,” said Rep. Tuell. “It does not mean relocate next to a medical marijuana store, or a gun shop or 15 to 20 miles down the road. I think the need is great, and we have an ideal location. We also have the property and the facilities to do a rebuild and eventually expand. I am in hopes that the legislature will see that wisdom and proceed accordingly.”
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a work session on LD 608 and LD 128 on Wednesday, April 3 at 10 am in Room 436 of the State House.