AUGUSTA – The Downeast Correctional Facility saga is taking another twist.
For the past two months, the fate of the Machiasport prison has bounced from the governor’s office to the legislature, to the courts.
Now, some legislators want to shelve an effort to establish a pre-release center in Washington County. Instead, they want to focus on extending the life of the minimum security prison.
In the turmoil surrounding the abrupt closure of the jail, no one has yet to conduct a study of whether it’s needed.
Senator Joyce Maker, R-Calais, said, “But we’ll know when someone takes an objective look at it. Not me. Not the governor. But someone objective. To work on a plan. That’s what I am hoping for. Pre-release is dead at this point.”
A bill to fund a study and keep the facility open at least through the end of June 2019 is in limbo.
Legislators in favor of the bill are trying to convince several lawmakers to join them to provide a solid veto-proof majority.
Either way, the bill is expected to be dealt with by the Maine legislature before adjourning later this month or early in May.