Lawyer Says LePage Must Reopen DCF Immediately

Mar 16, 2018

A lawyer for laid-off workers is demanding that Republican Gov. Paul LePage reopen the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport immediately, but no action is expected before the first part of next week. Justice Michaela Murphy ordered the facility be reopened Wednesday, but she left it up to the Department of Corrections to determine staffing and the number of inmates.

Representing prison workers, attorney David Webbert said he will ask the court to find the administration in contempt if LePage doesn't comply with Judge Murphy's order, which concluded the governor didn't have authority to shutter the prison last month.

"We're going to go back to the judge, this is a preliminary injunction where she found irreparable injury occurred everyday to people because they're losing health insurance, they don’t have money for basic necessities," Webbert said. "This order takes effect immediately. They haven't moved for a stay to stop it. So it's in effect and they're not doing anything about it."

LePage spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz said the governor intends to discuss the situation with Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick and attorneys on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.