Washington County Lawmakers Denounce DCF Closure


On Friday, Washington County lawmakers denounced an overnight move by Governor LePage to close Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, Maine despite repeated bipartisan legislative support for the facility.

 Members of Maine’s Washington County Legislative delegation issued the following joint statement:

 “In the dead of night when workers showed up to their shifts at Downeast Correctional Facility, they were told they no longer had jobs or a way to feed their families. Despite clear and repeated bipartisan support for the facility from the legislature and months of work to do the right thing, not only for Washington County, but for our prison system as a whole, Governor LePage chose to unilaterally ignore the wishes of Maine’s elected representatives and close the facility four months ahead of schedule.

 “While we do not yet know how far the economic and community impacts of this action will spread, we do know that a layoff of this magnitude is similar to a loss of 600 jobs in Cumberland County, and that it will cause harm to our communities for years to come. This surprise move is irresponsible and is sure to pose a threat to our public safety as a result of the chronic bed shortage statewide. We will do everything in our power to reverse this decision.”

 The Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved LD 1704 "An Act To Fund the Downeast Correctional Facility," sponsored by Rep. William Tuell (R-East Machias), just last week. The committee voted unanimously to continue funding Downeast Correctional Facility for at least one additional year. The measure has not yet been voted on by the full House and Senate.