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Attorney General Mills Applauds Court's Decision in the Downeast Correctional Facility Closure Matter
March 15, 2018
AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet Mills applauded the March 14, 2018 ruling by Justice Michaela Murphy in the Downeast Correctional Facility lawsuit as a victory for the people of Washington County, as well as for all Mainers.
“We are pleased with the ruling of the Superior Court. The Justice agreed with us that the plain language of the law requires that the facility be open and that the Commissioner may not close a funded facility without legislative action. While it is unfortunate that court action and an injunction were necessary, this Office stands ready to assist the Department of Corrections, the unions, the workers and the Legislature in complying with the injunction and carrying out the will of the court and the statutory mandate. We have argued that the action of the administration in closing the facility violated the separation of powers provision of our state constitution, and the Court agreed. The ruling is important not only for the Downeast Correctional Facility but for the system of checks and balances that is so critical to our democracy,” said Mills.
Mills stated, “this would be an appropriate time for the executive branch and members of the legislative branch to determine both the short term and the long term future of the Downeast Correctional Facility — an institution which is so important to the people of Washington County, to the hard working correctional staff, to the many local businesses served by inmate labor, including Wreaths Across America, and to the inmates themselves who have found on-the-job training, financial security and self-worth at this facility and who have paid their child support and restitution obligations with their earnings. The benefit of this minimum security facility to this very supportive community and to the state as a whole should not be underestimated.”