Legislator proposes bill to stabilize county jail funding

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - County jail funding remains a problem in Maine, and state lawmakers want to change that.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell, has been proposed aiming to stabilize the funding.

It would have Maine sheriffs, county commissioners, the Department of Corrections, and the Maine Municipal Association meet with the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee this summer and fall.

They would discuss how to handle the funding, and also look at the root cause of why people are in county jails and how to decrease that.

"We keep sort of kicking this can down the road you might say, where we provide a certain amount of funding," said Warren, who is the House Chair of Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. "And then the sheriffs have to come and spend months here asking for more funding because they just aren't able to meet all of the bills that they have to run their county jails."

Warren hopes the solution would include tax relief to communities that are paying huge bills to keep jails running.