Local citizen group calling for greater health protections at PCJ

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A group against growing the Penobscot County Jail wants more changes now to protect inmate, staff, and their families from COVID-19.

The group ‘No Penobscot County Jail Expansion’, formed last year, met Thursday outside the jail in Bangor.

Members want more inmates to be released.

Sheriff Troy Morton told TV5 Wednesday they've been able to drop their daily average population by 50.

Their numbers went from 235 to 185.

The group says that is not enough.

They recognize that many services are closed and inmates may not have a place to go if they are released.

But they say it's a safer option for both inmates and jail staff.

“We hope in many cases that people will feel that it is less of a risk to be on the street and released and preparing their defense that way than being in jail,” said Larry Dansinger, a member of ‘No Penobscot County Jail Expansion.’

TV5 reached out to Sheriff Morton Thursday to see if any additional inmates have been released but have yet to hear back.

As of Wednesday, there had been no cases of COVID-19 at the jail or within staff.