Because of the ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a group formed last year to oppose the expansion of the Penobscot County Jail is calling for the immediate reduction of the facility's population ther and at other jails and prisons in Maine.
Larry Dansinger is a member of No Penobscot County Jail Expansion. He says the incarcerated in Maine jails are in danger because of tight quarters. He says many of those held in county jails don't need to be there.
“Most of them are not a danger. They should be released so that they're at least maximizing their opportunity to be safe during this virus.”
Sheriff Troy Morton says Penobscot County has been able to ramp up existing plans to deal with communicable diseases, and he says the jail already releases many no risk/ low risk inmates into various pre-trial programs.
“There's a hundred people already out doing that, and that's why you look at the population, the remaining population, it's a little more difficult to go in there and find truly low risk, no risk individuals.”
Morton says along other things being done to lessen the threat of COVID-19 are reducing the number of individuals coming into jail and reduction of movement within the facility.