Proposals to move some Maine prison inmates out of state and close prison units would have a negative impact on local communities, corrections department employees told legislators, says the Kennebec Journal. The plan are part of Gov. John Baldacci’s $6.1 billion budget proposal for 2009-11. Baldacci’s budget seeks to close an $838 million budget gap.
The governor’s budget includes a proposal to send 118 inmates to a private prison run by the Corrections Corp. of America in Eden Prairie, Mn. The department also proposes closing two prison units, eliminating 39 positions. Eleven people spoke against the plan at a hearing yesterday; no one favored it. One local official said that last year, inmates contributed 9,097 hours of labor to local towns, valued at roughly $109,173. Prisoners clean cemeteries and built a park. The official said inmates learn skills and connect with the community, which lowers chances they’ll re-offend.