BELFAST & ROCKLAND – Two neighboring counties in Maine are going to be sharing resources for their corrections facilities, and they hope it can be a model for the rest of the state.
A new position to be shared between Knox and Waldo counties will be the first of its kind in Maine.
Officials announced Thursday that Major Raymond Porter, who currently works for Waldo County, will become the “Unified Correctional Administrator” for both counties.
“We’re adjoining counties. We deal with many of the times many of the same folks,” said Waldo County Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton.
The idea came about when Knox County’s jail administrator recently retired.
Officials said the shared position will save taxpayers money and allow the neighboring counties to share resources, better helping them tackle the opioid crisis.
“What we’re looking at all across the board is what can we do better, and can we do it for less money,” said Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll.
Porter has 28 years of experience in corrections, and will coordinate the correctional operations for both counties in his new role.
Currently the Knox County Jail is a 70 bed facility, whereas Waldo County has a 32 bed men’s re-entry center.
Officials said they want to take the success of the re-entry center and continue to rely less on incarceration, and more on programs that get people back to being productive members of society.
“Now is the perfect time. Nationally we’re looking at criminal justice reform. I think we’ve figured out locking people up, throwing away the key…is just not the answer,” said Sheriff Trafton.
Porter said he will work toward that goal and will start by making connections with the people who already work in those facilities.
“They are the people that spend the most time with the individuals that are in those facilities and who most has the best influence,” said Porter.
He’ll have an office in Knox County and one in Waldo County. Porter said he’ll officially take over the position starting July 1st.