Question 1 on ballots Nov. 5 will be, “Do you favor a $25,000,000 bond issue to raise funds to build a new correctional facility in Machias and to make improvements to the Maine Correctional Center in South Windham?” It is time to move the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machias forward. I am urging my legislative colleagues from both parties and the citizens of Maine to support the bond referendum.
The need to replace the Bucks Harbor facility should be obvious to everyone by now. It was not designed to be a correctional facility and its rapid deterioration makes it even less suitable now. Replacing it with a facility in Machias makes good sense. A site is available, donated by the town of Machias, with an adequate water and wastewater treatment capacity. There are already trained and experienced corrections officials and support staff in the community.
There are at least 77 jobs at stake, but the economic impact is not limited to Washington County. A 34 percent lower per diem cost ($85 instead of $130) with a new facility should interest every Maine citizen.
The local people want this to be built, as demonstrated by the donation of a 50-acre site. Downeast Correctional Facility Community Restitution program has provided thousands of hours of labor for communities, churches and other non-profit organizations.
Supporting this project makes sense for Washington County and for Maine.
Sen. Kevin Shorey