Appropriations Committee Unanimously Passes Funding For Jails

Augusta – In a true show of bipartisanship, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted unanimously on a plan that will provide $2,488,000 in funding to Maine’s county jails. The disbursement of the funds and temporary financial oversight over the county jails will be handled by Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick, who was confirmed to that position earlier this week.

The money comes just in the nick of time for the county jails who were facing a significant funding shortfall. The original plan was a collaborative effort between Governor Paul LePage, the House Republican lead on the Appropriations Committee Tom Winsor of Norway, and the committee’s Senate Chair Jim Hamper, (R) Oxford County. That plan was tweaked by the committee before final passage late Friday morning.

Rep. Tom Winsor: “I’m pleased everyone could come together on what I think is a reasonable solution for the dire situation that exists today. The bottom line is the jails get the money they need to maintain their operations. But we also have to realize, this is only a temporary solution and now a long-term, sustainable plan needs to be crafted so Maine’s jails can move forward without being in a constant state of financial crisis.”

The funds should be available to the jails in the coming weeks.

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