AUGUSTA – Almost a year and a half after it was closed, lawmakers are pushing to reopen the Downeast Correctional Facility.
For Senator Marianne Moore and Representative Will Tuell, reopening the Downeast Correctional Facility in it’s Washington County location is of the utmost importance.
That’s because the opportunities the reopening will create 2 years down the line would stay in the community where the facility has always been.
“The facility itself has been there for quite a while and the community embraces it. They’re very passionate about that location, they’ve gotten used to it if you want to call it that, but not only that but it provides the work environment that we need, ” Moore said.
But the facility isn’t scheduled to reopen at full capacity.
“What the plans are in my understanding is that they’re actually going to demolish one of the dorms themselves because it has asbestos and needs some work with it and erect a 10,000 square foot metal building that will house the 50 inmates, ” Moore said.
And there’s another benefit of reopening the prison after it closed abruptly in 2018.
“We as a state need the bed space for folks that are in prison for whatever reason. This program would help them rehabilitate and get them to a point where they’re not going back to prison hopefully,” Tuell said.
The project is estimated to cost between 6 and a half and 8 million dollars and the funds come from the Government Facilities Authority Bond approved by voters four years ago.
But the lawmakers don’t plan to stop at the facility holding 50 inmates and employing only 15 staff members.
“Would we like more, absolutely, but right now at least we’re going to get it open and this is a start and hopefully if we need to justify enlarging it in the future, ” Moore said.