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A Better Prison System
AUGUSTA - Legislators say they will reconsider building a $19 million prison for Washington County again next year. The Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to carry over the bill to next year, giving a reprieve to the measure.
The bill, LD 356, An Act to Build a Prison in Washington County, would have authorized bonding up to $19 million to build the prison. "This bill would build a major facility in Downeast Maine, within a reasonable distance of people who live far away from the existing prisons," said Rep. Ed Pellon, D-Machias, the bill's sponsor.
"As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I know how difficult it is to maintain programs, let alone fund something of this magnitude at this time," said Rep. Hannah Pingree, D-North Haven, who co-sponsored the bill. "I was pleased the committee voted to carry over this bill until next year when, hopefully, the state will be in a better financial position to fund projects like this one."
"We need this facility to be built Downeast," said Rep. Anne Perry, D-Calais, another co-sponsor. "If we have to wait a year for approval, so be it. I would rather wait than not get the jobs and the facility here. The fact is that there is a need for a prison. The commissioner of Public Safety now has the opportunity to put together a system-wide study on jail and prison overcrowding and find a solution," said Perry.
Other co-sponsors of the legislation are Senators Pam Hatch, D-Somerset, and Tom Sawyer, R-Penobscot, and Representatives George Bunker, D- Kossuth Township, Robert Crosthwaite, D-Ellsworth, Ed Dugay, D-Cherryfield, Al Goodwin, D-Pembroke, and Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport.
Rep. Hannah Pingree, 867-2336
Casey Johnson, Legislative Aide, 287-1430
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