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New $10 million prison facility holds grand opening

Governor Paul LePage toured the new $10 million prison facility, the first of its kind in the state. (WGME)

WINDHAM (WGME) – The Southern Maine Women’s Re-Entry Center held its grand opening Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Paul LePage toured the new $10 million prison facility, the first of its kind in the state.

CBS 13 spoke with the commissioner of the Department of Corrections and he says the purpose of this facility is to create a smooth transition between incarceration and re-entering the community.

The commissioner says the two year transitioning period before they're released is the most important.

During that time, they'll do volunteer work and various projects within the community. Inmates will be connected with employment while they're at the facility and learn how to talk about their crimes in a job interview.

Education plays a large role as well.

The commissioner says there are programs to help women finish their high school education as well as beginning college courses.

Governor Paul LePage received a tour, then spoke and cut the ribbon for the Grand Opening Ceremony.

"Ideally we'd like to say that we don't need prisons,” LePage said. “But if we're going to have prisons, this is the type of prison that we need to try to help people to leave the establishment and never to come back."

The Department of Corrections says the next step as far as facility development is just up the hill at the Maine Correctional Center.

They say about $150 million will go into expanding and adding treatment programs over the next three to five years.

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