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Governor Mills, Commissioner Liberty Officially Open New Downeast Correctional Facility in Washington County

Machiasport, MAINE - Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) Randall Liberty were joined by more than 100 people on Friday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport.

The new facility is the result of a 2019 agreement between the Mills Administration and the Washington County legislative delegation to build a new pre-release center on the grounds of the previous Downeast Correctional Facility, which was suddenly and illegally closed by the previous administration.

The new facility employs 15 staff and can house up to 48 men who are participating in the Department of Correction’s pre-release program, which allows them to work in the community and contribute to the economy.

“Without warning, and without the approval of the Legislature, Downeast Correctional Facility was unilaterally closed under the cover of darkness, its staff placed on administrative leave, and inmates moved to entirely different facilities, devastating local businesses that relied on them as employees and shocking this community,” said Governor Mills. “As Attorney General, I fought that illegal move and when I became Governor, I continued my efforts to do right by this community. Today, I stand here proud to officially open the new Downeast Correctional Facility, and I thank the people of Washington County – including its lawmakers – for working so closely with us to arrive at this day, to right a wrong as best we could, and to keep our promise to the people of Washington County. This new facility will not only provide an important service to Maine, but it will support employers who need workers and help inmates as they reenter society.”

“Today is a good day for Washington County. We want to thank Governor Mills and her Administration for working with us to come to a satisfactory outcome that reopens DCF,” said Senator Marianne Moore (R-Washington), Representative Will Tuell (R-East Machias), Representative Robert Alley (D-Beals), and Representative Anne Perry (D-Calais). “We are happy that we were able to work together to keep our promise to the people of Washington County, to keep DCF where it is, and to ensure that it will continue to provide an important service to our state and economy.”

“We know that having a secure job reduces recidivism,” said Commissioner Liberty. “Downeast Correctional Facility’s strong partnership with local employers is good for Washington County and for residents as they work towards a successful reentry into Maine society.”

The event, which featured an Honor Guard procession, raising of flags, remarks, a ribbon cutting, and small group tours of the facility, was attended by current and former Washington County lawmakers who championed the opening.

Construction of the new facility, which began in September 2020, was done by local contractors and came in under the $8 million authorized budget. Residents began moving into the new facility in January 2022.

The new facility is energy efficient, with LED lighting, energy efficient windows, energy star rated appliances and 118 roof top solar panels which have already produced 17.8 MW of energy since the new year.

Governor Mills and Washington County lawmakers cut the ribbon officially reopening Downeast Correctional Facility.

Governor Mills and Commissioner of Corrections Randall Liberty pose in front of the new Downeast Correctional Facility.