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February 16, 2018

County jail closure could follow Downeast facility closure

Washington County, still reeling from the closure of the Downeast Correctional Facility in Bucks Harbor, now has to contend with the prospect of the county jail closing too.

The Quoddy Tides reported the Washington County Jail in Machias is one of five county jails around the state targeted by the Maine Department of Corrections' recently released proposal to restructure the state's county jail system. The others are Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford and Piscataquis. Three regional multi-county jail authorities would be created instead. The proposed savings would be around $10 million a year.

Washington County Commission Chair Chris Gardner likened the plan to turning law enforcement officers into tax drivers shuttling prisoners to regional jails.

The DOC plan shows the Washington County jail with a budget of $2.191 million.

"So we're taking, what, about $2.1 million and job creating outside of the county," he said.

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