- Associated Press - Thursday, February 23, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Business leaders and politicians in a small community are opposing the Maine Republican governor’s plan to save $5 million by closing a nearby prison.

Maine Public reports (https://bit.ly/2mcNH76 ) that employers in the sparsely populated community of Machiasport increasingly depend on the labor provided by incarcerated and released individuals.

It’s not the first time the state has considered closing down the facility, which serves just 150 inmates.

The Downeast Correctional Facility provides 51 jobs.

The owner of a wreath company says prisoners “volunteer” for work assignments at his company and says they’d be hard to replace.

But state corrections officials say inmates could be housed more efficiently at other institutions, and that some could be released under a monitored ankle bracelet program.

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