A red pickup truck pulls away from the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport in February. The Department of Corrections says it plans to lay off all guards, relocate prisoners, and close the facility by June 10.

MACHIASPORT — Layoff notices will be issued to all 46 employees at Downeast Correctional Facility in Machias, which will lead to effective closure of the facility on June 10.

The approximately 100 inmates will be transferred to other state facilities, according to Maine Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Jody Breton.

According to a statement from the Maine Senate Republican office, there is a rumor that 75 prisoners will have their sentences commuted.

Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick also confirmed the closure and said DOC will be issuing the pink slips Friday. Fitzpatrick said he could not comment on whether all inmates will be relocated to other facilities.

Breton said DOC has been to the Machias facility a couple times this year to discuss the possibility of permanent closure — “I think everyone is sort of expecting it,” she said Friday.

Jim Mackie, representative for the corrections officers for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said, “It’s our opinion that (the DOC) does not have the authority to do that,” and that he will seek an “injunctive release” to stop the closure.

The prison has repeatedly been recommended for closure over the years and again found itself on the state budget chopping block this past winter. After hearing impassioned testimony from Washington County officials and business leaders, the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted in March to fund the prison for another two years.


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