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Shrinking inmate populations is the focus of efforts to fix Maine’s county jail problems
By bangordailynews.com - Caitlin Andrews
Published: 10/22/2019

Maine’s county jails frequently find themselves short on money. But when it comes to fixing the state’s seemingly intractable jail funding problem, one of the last things lawmakers, state corrections officials and sheriffs are talking about is simply allocating more of it. Instead, they say, the key is to reduce — not necessarily budgets and services, but recidivism, the lengths of sentences, and the number of inmates spending time behind bars before trial and the amount of time they spend. A legislative committee is set to meet Tuesday to begin the arduous discussion of how to fix the county jail funding challenge that has persisted for years. Currently, counties pay about 80 percent of the jails while the state picks up the rest — and when that’s not enough, legislators sometimes have to give jails more cash without any guarantee it will fix the problem long-term.

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