I attended the state Board of Corrections hearing in Augusta on Sept. 17, at which the board members voted 5-2 to not allow the Franklin County Detention Center to return to being a full-service jail. The decision was based on the fact that voting for full service would mean $630,500 less funding for the state Corrections Department budget.

It was interesting to me that the board members understood the rationale for “full service,” but could not accept the $630,500 reduction. The members talked about their “fiscal cliff,” and losing $630,500 could not be tolerated. The change would not achieve cost efficiencies and future savings. But it is Franklin County’s money.

I was Franklin County state senator in 2008 when the Department of Corrections decided that making several county jails “72-hour holding facilities” was cost effective. Instead, it has had a very negative impact.

State officials may feel the pain of Franklin County property owners, but they can’t quite reach them. But they will take our money.

Residents can push for state legislators to sponsor a bill funding $630,500. Of course, other counties, including Oxford County, now want “full-service” jails.

Or, Gov. Paul LePage can put the money in his next supplemental budget.

The Franklin County Jail was working fine prior to 2009.

Walter Gooley, Farmington

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