AUGUSTA – Maine lawmakers are reviewing a bill that aims to fully fund county jails by making the state cover the extra cost of corrections services.
The proposal would require the Department of Corrections to reimburse each of the state’s 16 counties for annual jail costs that exceed that county’s tax assessment for corrections services.
Rep. Stephen Stanley, D-Medway, said a similar bill requiring the state to cover any increase in the cost of the county jails was passed about 10 years ago but after the first year, the state stopped paying its share due to its own financial problems.
“The state really hasn’t been living up to its obligation. They’ve provided money, don’t get me wrong there, but the money they provided hasn’t been enough to fully fund the jails the way they should be funded,” Stanley said.
Stanley said the funding would primarily help jails deal with overcrowding.