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FACT SHEET: PENOBSCOT COUNTY JAIL & ITS POPULATION

  • PCJ is currently funded primarily (over 2/3) by property taxes paid by county residents and property owners. The jail costs the county over $10 million per year.   
     

  • Penobscot County Commissioners are currently considering how to spend about $29.5 million in funds provided by the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). According to ARPA guidelines, the money is intended for COVID-19 relief purposes.
     

  • Suggested uses for the funds include providing programs and services in Penobscot County, such as treatment for substance use disorder and mental health issues, that would reduce the number of people arrested and jailed. Proposals have also been made to use ARPA money to expand the size of the jail, but there has been public opposition to that use. The decision about how much ARPA money is used for different purposes has not yet been made by commissioners.  
     

  • Current Capacity of PCJ is 157 Individuals. In recent years, the number in the jail has varied from about 160-190 persons, with an additional number being boarded out to other jails, averaging about 40. 
     

  • Between 2/3 and 3/4 of those incarcerated are in pre-trial status—they have not been convicted of any crime and are considered “innocent until proven guilty.” The remainder (1/4 to 1/3) of those in the jail have been convicted and are serving sentences of 364 days or less. 
     

  • A recent demographic analysis of individuals incarcerated in the jail found that 18 percent were women and 82 percent were men. Eighty-one percent identified as White, 11 percent as Black, three percent as Native, and four percent in other categories. The largest number, over 40 percent of those jailed, were aged 30-39, with smaller numbers in their 20’s and 40’s. A few were under age 20 or age 50+.  
     

  • About half of those in pre-trial status are being held without the option of bail. The remainder have bail amounts varying from about $500 to $150,000, depending on the charge(s). 
     

  • PCJ has had several recent outbreaks of Covid-19, affecting both those incarcerated and staff. 
     

  • The public can contact county commissioners or county officials: County commissioners are Peter Baldacci (pkbaldacci@gmail.com), Laura Sanborn (hlsanborn@aol.com), Andre Cushing (andre@andrecushing.com), and County administrator Erika Honey (ehoney@penobscot-county.net). The county office phone number is (207) 942-8535. Also, you can contact Troy Morton, Penobscot County Sheriff. Troy Morton can be contacted at tmorton@penobscot-sheriff.net or call (207) 947-4585.
     

  • No Penobscot County Jail Expansion believes that many of those incarcerated experience poverty, substance use disorder, and mental health issues and should not be locked up, that jailing people does not reduce crime in this area, and that Penobscot County would be safer if the jail population was were reduced and acts considered criminal were addressed in other ways. 

 

Contact: No Penobscot County Jail Expansion: nopenobscotjailexpanson@gmail.com or (207) 262-3706 (Larry)