AUGUSTA – Some state lawmakers are looking to reopen the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport that was abruptly closed by former Gov. Paul LePage more than a year ago.
A public hearing was held on two bills in Augusta Wednesday – one to reopen the existing facility and one to fund repairs for it.
The latter legislation would use a $10 million bond that lawmakers said was earmarked for the Downeast Correctional Facility in 2016, but never used.
Lawmakers said the reentry program was beneficial for the inmates and local employers, and some want to bring the program back to the existing site, rather than building a new facility.
“If the decision is to move it to a different facility, I think we feel like we have to start all over again,” said Sen. Marianne Moore, R – Calais. “We own the property. Let’s fix it so that we can bring our inmates back to Washington County.”
If passed, lawmakers say that money would reopen a downsized version, that would hold 50 inmates at the existing site.