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Maine governor's moves to shut down prison draws concern

Supporters say closing the prison would mean 51 jobs lost

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine — Two Republican lawmakers say Maine's governor needs legislative approval to shut down a minimum-security state prison.

Sen. Joyce Maker and Rep. Will Tuell said Friday that the state informed employees at Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport that the facility will close June 10.

Supporters say closing the prison would mean 51 jobs lost. It's unclear where an estimated 150 inmates would go.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage's office and corrections officials didn't immediately comment.

LePage's two-year budget proposal estimates closing the facility will save $5 million each year.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Linda Pistner in an April letter to Maker said the governor can't unilaterally amend the law that establishes Downeast Correctional Facility.

In March, the Legislature's criminal justice and public safety committee's unanimously recommended keeping the facility open.

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