Augusta – Today, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, announced that legislation has been filed to support the construction of a new jail in Caribou. The bond proposal comes amid increased use of the current facility by local law enforcement agencies throughout northern Aroostook County.
“This project is long overdue. With the current jail increasingly serving the entire region, it doesn’t make sense to force taxpayers in one municipality to pick up the tab,” said President Jackson. “A new jail will better support local law enforcement in northern Aroostook County and ensure that justice can be served. Chief Gahagan and his colleagues have put together such a thoughtful plan that deserves state support.”
The current jail within the Caribou Police Station is one of two in Aroostook County and is used heavily by law enforcement across the region. Much like the rest of the station, the 80-year-old building lacks the space to serve all the municipalities that rely on the facility and is plagued with structural issues, including leaky faucets and mold. The jail’s central location in the northern part of the state’s largest county has led to increased use by local law enforcement and state troopers to conduct interviews, process evidence, write reports, and temporarily hold individuals.
“As usual, Senator Jackson reach out to the Law Enforcement in the county to add his support for the new Police Station in Caribou, knowing the cost is going up every year that it is delayed,” said Chief Michael Gahagan, Caribou Police Department. “He knew that Caribou Police were holding prisoners for other police departments and that they were the only other facility in the county to do so. Law Enforcement has always appreciated the support from Senator Jackson and this is just one more example.”
The construction of a new jail in Caribou has the support of the Aroostook County Sheriff, the Maine State Police’s Commanding Officer for the Maine Troop F (which covers Aroostook County), and the Police Chiefs in Ashland, Washburn, Fort Fairfield, and Presque Isle.
The bond seeks to cover the cost of the new jail, which is expected to cost between $1-2 million. Plans are already underway for the construction of a new Caribou Police Station with voters recently approving $10 million for the project. An expanded regional jail was not initially included in the proposal. Funding from the Legislature is intended to cover the additional costs of a jail that would serve the entire region as a secondary facility to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton.