Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Saturday, April 30, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 17

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5/8/2013 2:00:00 PM
Sheriff Says Board of Corrections Concept 'Isn't Working'
By Dominik Lobkowicz


Of the three options for the future of county corrections presented by Gov. Paul LePage at a meeting with the state's sheriffs on April 30, Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett said he was in favor of going back to the old system of counties running their jails.

"I think probably our best option is to go backwards," Brackett told the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners at their meeting May 7.

Last week, Brackett said LePage met with the sheriffs to discuss the difficult financial situation facing the jails and the state Board of Corrections which oversees them. LePage presented three options to the sheriffs: repeal the legislation consolidating the county jail system and the tax caps on county corrections; have the state's Department of Corrections take over the county jail system; or have the counties come together to fix the problem, Brackett said.

On May 7, Brackett said he believes in the Board of Corrections concept, but the system "isn't working."

A straw poll taken of the sheriffs showed unanimous support for returning to the old method of county corrections, Brackett said.

Going back to the old system would probably cause about a $20 million hit to the property taxpayers statewide, but Lincoln and Sagadahoc have enough in their current tax caps to house the two county's inmates if the system reverts, Brackett said.

Even so, it would likely necessitate reductions to operations and staff at Two Bridges Regional Jail, Brackett said.

The jail could go back to charging for boarders from outside the county, but TBRJ would need to compete with other jails for those inmates and the revenue that comes with them, which serves to drive the prices down, Brackett said.

"That's the big unknown; that's what worries me the most," he said.

The discussion with LePage about the county corrections system was candid, and was probably healthy, Brackett said. LePage said he would be in touch on the issue, but did not say when.

Commissioner Chairman William Blodgett said the Governor's office ought to be discussing the issues with the county commissioners, not just the sheriffs.

"Until we bring in all parties, it's going to be kind of a lopsided discussion," Blodgett said.



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