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Politics

2 Republicans, Union Say LePage is Emptying Out Downeast Correctional Facility

AUGUSTA, Maine — Union representatives and two Republicans say the governor is taking steps to empty out a minimum-security state prison without legislative approval.

Republican Sen. Joyce Maker, Republican Rep. Will Tuell and union officials say the administration has transferred about 25 of the 100 inmates at the Downeast Correctional Facility. That’s on top of three inmates released after the LePage administration commuted their sentences.

The House and Senate are fighting the closure and have supported funding the Machiasport prison for two more years. But the issue’s divided the Legislature’s appropriations committee.

LePage’s predecessors have tried closing the prison, which the administration calls too costly.

Maker and Tuell said the surrounding community depends on prison jobs and labor.