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Legislative Committee Votes to Keep Downeast Correctional Facility Open 

A reprieve of sorts for the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport. A lawmaking committee today voted to keep it open.

The governor’s proposed budget called for it to be closed in June. If it shut down, 51 jobs would be lost in Washington County, and 150 inmates would be released and monitored by electronic ankle bracelets.

The legislative committee today voted to remove the closure of the facility from the budget.

The recommendation still has to be approved by another the Appropriations & Financial Affairs Committee.

We spoke with Washington County lawmakers who are very pleased with Monday’s vote.

“I almost cried. This is my seventh year, we’ve fought it every year we’ve been here. I am so thankful to that committee to see the value that we have in Downeast,” said Sen. Joyce Maker, (R) Calais.

“I think you can hear it in the hallway there right behind you just how much this means to our area. 2500+ people signed petitions to keep this open and hundreds and hundreds of people rallied behind it and we’re just thrilled to the brim,” said Rep. Will Tuell, (R) Machiasport.

The facility also provides work-release programs that help local businesses and Machiasport with labor.

Last year, more than 16,000 hours of community service were logged by its inmates.