Sen. Diamond presses administration on pre-release facility
AUGUSTA — Earlier this morning, Gov. LePage began the process of closing the Down East Correctional Facility in Machiasport. In the aftermath of the governor’s actions, Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, is urging the administration to expedite the construction of a new pre-release facility.
Some legislators and union representatives have voiced concern about the move, especially in light of the fact that a bill to fund the prison is making its way through the Legislature. Sen. Diamond believes this should renew the focus on completing the transformation of Down East into a facility to house prisoners and prepare them for release. The administration agreed to turn Down East into a pre-release center when the Legislature decided to fund renovations to the Maine Correctional Center in the 127th Legislature.
“I don’t agree with Gov. LePage’s decision, nor with the way he went about it, but he is within his rights to do it and I must respect that,” said Sen. Diamond. “However, I am deeply concerned about the economic impact that this move will have on the area, and also the manner in which we are handling the transfer of these prisoners. This illustrates the need for fast-tracking the construction of the pre-release facility that was agreed upon quite a while ago, and I think we should begin to focus on that now that the Governor has decided to close Down East.”
Sen. Diamond is the Senate Democratic lead on the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, which has jurisdiction over LD 1704, “An Act To Fund the Downeast Correctional Facility.”