Governor reopens Machiasport prison in "minimum capacity"

MACHISPORT, Maine (WABI) - The Downeast Correctional facility in Machiasport will reopen, but to what capacity is still unknown.

Last week, a judge ruled Governor LePage did not have the authority to close it.

Union attorneys sent the Governor and his attorneys a letter last week demanding the Corrections Commissioner reopen the facility.

Governor LePage responded to that letter Monday afternoon saying, "The Maine Department of Corrections will operate the facility with minimal staffing and a minimal number of inmates, and continue preparations to close the facility when the appropriation expires in June."

He went on to say, "Operating the facility in a minimal capacity allows the department to comply with the court order, to meet the needs of the Department, to continue saving money for Maine taxpayers and to keep it operating through June."

The Governor says the Corrections Commissioner will make the adjustments by end of week.

Attorneys representing employees in the case say the Governor's plan isn't compliance.

Attorney David Webbert says, "The statement issued by the governor is basically a belated offer of minimal compliance with a court order and in our legal system parties aren't allowed to say well I'll I'll comply a little bit with a court order. So, it's very disappointing to see the executive branch not following the rule of law. Especially because the court found it was a violation of the Maine Constitution. So, we're left no choice but to follow up with the judge about this refusal to comply."