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LePage’s Moves to Shut Down Prison Draw Concern

The LePage administration delivered layoff notices to all 46 employees at the Downeast Correctional Facility in Bucks Harbor on Friday as the governor moved ahead with plans to close the prison on June 10 and relocate its 100 prisoners to other facilities.

Community leaders throughout Washington County have made passionate pleas to the governor and the Maine Legislature this year in an effort to keep the facility open. Jim Mackie, staff representative in Maine for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said he is meeting with state union officials to weigh the options available to unemployed workers at the prison.

“Right now, we’re trying to judge who has standing to file for injunctive relief to either stop it or slow it down. From that part of it I know that the Washington County delegation has been meeting themselves to see what they can do,” he said. “That facility does so much it will absolutely just devastate Washington County, and I don’t understand why or what the governor has against the Washington County area.”

Sen. Joyce Maker, a Calais Republican, was among lawmakers from the region condemning the governor’s decision, saying the closure will “dishearten” Down East residents.