As prison crowding remains a problem in
Maine, there’s more discussion about a possible state-county
partnership to run a prison in the eastern part of the state.
In Machias, members of an exploratory committee met
for the first time to talk about building a jail that could house
both county inmates and state prisoners.
Nothing was decided, but Washington County and state officials
agreed to explore the matter further. Another meeting’s scheduled
for August 23rd in Machias.
Ralph Nichols of the state Corrections Department says he’s like
to see a plan prepared by the end of October to present to the
Legislature in January. That plan would include a location, size
and cost of a new facility.
The state already operates the Downeast Correctional Facility at
a former Air Force station in Bucks Harbor. Officials say that
prison, which is more than 20 years old, needs upgrading.
In May, the idea building a new prison in eastern Maine was
presented to Governor Baldacci, who expressed interest but wanted
One idea that’s been floated is to have the Washington County
Development Authority issue bonds to build a prison and then lease
it to the state.