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jail facing funding shortage

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county, deputies ok new contract

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Sheriff looking at options for inmate housing

by Rick Haverinen,special to the Sun Journal July 20, 2016

PARIS — Oxford County officials continue to brainstorm ways to resolve its jail funding shortage.

The Oxford County Jail is licensed by the state Department of Corrections as a 72-hour holding facility, so the county has to transport its long-term prisoners to larger facilities in other parts of the state.

The county had been relying on the Cumberland County Jail in Portland to house its inmates, but Cumberland officials notified Oxford County officials this year that it was increasing the per-day boarding cost from $50 to $108, starting July 1.

Jail problems discussed
Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant, right, updates county commissioners Tuesday on the cost of housing inmates at other facilities as Jail Administrator Ed Quinn listens.

That announcement was shocking to Oxford County officials, who were predicting a corrections program funding shortfall even before that news.

Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant briefed county commissioners Tuesday morning about his efforts to resolve the funding challenge. He described his trip last week to visit Cumberland County officials. County Commissioner Tim Turner and County Administrator Scott Cole accompanied him.

"I felt like I was going to a poker game and they were spotting me some money and (they were saying,) 'Just keep playing and we'll keep spotting you,'" Gallant said.