Recently, it was announced in a local press report that Maine’s Department of Corrections (DOC) is planning to construct a women’s pre-release center on the campus of the Maine Correctional Center (MCC) campus in Windham. Many Windham-area residents expressed concerns that the DOC was attempting to unilaterally move forward with a large-scale construction project without the opportunity for public input by our community. Sharing those concerns, I, along with Representatives Bryant and Corey, wrote to the DOC urging them to move swiftly in organizing public forums for the Windham-area community.
I am happy to say that after meeting with the Commissioner of the DOC, he was understanding and apologetic; and, he agreed to delay final decisions on the entire project until there was an opportunity for public comment. To that end, he has scheduled three public meetings: March 18th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Maine Correctional Center; March 21st from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Windham Town Hall; and March 28th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Windham High School.
Public forums are a central component of any project undertaken by a public entity. It’s an opportunity for the public to participate in a conversation about the changes to their community.
There’s no doubt that constructing a $10 million building that houses 78 inmates will create a significant impact on the area. As a former long-time member of the state’s Criminal Justice Committee, I know it is important to provide opportunity for prisoners to gain life skills and further their education before they are reintegrated to the community. But I realize that my experience and knowledge base with criminal justice issues is unique.
So, I encourage each of you to participate in the process--whether it’s just by attending to learn more about the project and more about what MCC does--or coming with your list of questions and concerns. Either way, it is through your involvement, that we ensure our community reflects our preferences. If you can’t make it, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 287-1515 with any feedback or concerns that you may have.
Also, a quick congratulations and thank you to Maine’s Department of Transportation (MDOT) for repairing Babb’s Bridge so quickly and three months ahead of schedule. You may remember, the bridge was damaged by a hit and run driver who caused pretty significant damage. We all appreciate the MDOT’s attention and cooperation.