County Jails

By a large margin, lawmakers voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to fund Maine’s county jails.

The measure is aimed at helping the jails address the demands caused by more inmates, and by inmates who need costly medical or mental health care. It provides an ongoing $3 million appropriation and a one-time use of another $3 million from surplus funds in accounts of the state’s professional licensing boards.

House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette, a Republican from Newport, had urged the house sustain the veto.

Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed six more bills, including two measures that rewrite the state’s marijuana laws.

LePage lists nearly a dozen objections to a measure that would change the medical marijuana law. He targeted another marijuana bill that he says would jeopardize public health, and he called on lawmakers to send him legislation that would provide more oversight of the medical marijuana program as the state implements adult recreational use.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Both chambers of the Maine Legislature have overturned the veto of a bill that earmarks $2.4 million in emergency funding for jails.

The bipartisan bill was overwhelmingly approved in the House, and was approved in the Senate unanimously without a roll call. But it was vetoed by Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who said counties have no incentive to control jail costs when the state steps in to make up the difference.

That bill will now become law over LePage's objections.

A new proposal to provide emergency funding for several of Maine’s beleaguered county jails is winning bipartisan support in Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Maine - An effort by a few Republicans to torpedo emergency funding for the state's county jails failed today after the Maine House opted to support the bipartisan recommendations of a legislative policy committee.

Backers of the measure said failure to pass the bill would shift costs to local property taxpayers.

Maine Sheriffs Seek More Funds for County Jails

Feb 29, 2016

Maine’s county jails are asking the Legislature for additional funding to combat skyrocketing prisoner populations and the added costs of housing inmates with mental health and drug problems.

The struggle to balance the budget at some of Maine’s county jails continues. Part of the problem, according to Republican state Rep. Ricky Long, stems from the Legislature’s failure to fully fund county jail needs at a cost of nearly $15 million a year. Instead, the jails were given just over $12 million.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ An expansion aimed at relieving overcrowding in the Kennebec County jail is moving forward.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's county jail system will undergo yet another change in its state funding system. The new funding plan, approved by the Legislature this week, does away with the state Board of Corrections, and gives control over the state's share of jail funding to the Department of Corrections.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Members of the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee have tentatively agreed to continue funding for the state's county jails. But the plan is about $2 million a year short of what some believe is necessary to operate them properly. And that could pose serious financial problems for some jails.

A.J. Higgins / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - While lawmakers at the State House struggle to find consensus on a plan to address funding shortfalls at the county jails, Gov. Paul LePage is moving forward with an effort to end the state's role in managing them.

The governor wants to redirect funds allocated to the Maine Board of Corrections to provide pay raises for state prison guards. State officials say conditions at Maine's understaffed correctional facilities are becoming increasingly more dangerous.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Board of Corrections appears poised to disappear. At the same time an adequate funding stream for Maine's 15 county jails remains anything but certain.

In his new budget revision plan, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has proposed eliminating the board's $6.5 million operations fund. The board is charged with overseeing operations at the state's county jails, and LePage has proposed a state take-over of the jails or returning complete control of the facilities back to the counties.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Legislation to abolish the state Board of Corrections and return full control of the county jails to the counties has the support of the county sheriffs.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry testified for the sheriffs before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

"Our Maine sheriffs stand as one, unanimous in our support of the return of Maine's county jails to county control," Merry told lawmakers. "Our sheriffs have run the jails for 195 years, we know this business like no one else, and we are good at it."

Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers are considering a proposal endorsed by Gov. Paul LePage that would provide emergency funding for Maine's cash-strapped county jails.

Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says he won't allocate any more money to Maine county jails - or appoint any new members to the Board of Corrections - until lawmakers devise a new system to run the jails.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The State Board of Corrections has voted unanimously to ask lawmakers in January for an additional $2 million, as the state’s county jails continue to face budget problems from higher-than-projected costs and more inmates than estimated.

 

For weeks, the Board of Corrections and its staff have been hearing from county officials about the budget problems facing the jails. They got a supplemental appropriation to get through the budget year that ended June 30, but higher costs of operation, driven by more inmates are continuing in the new budget year.