I am concerned about the relative silence around the proposed closing of the Hallowell Pre-release Center. This facility has provided unquestionable service to the community through the years, and its closing would be a tremendous blow to the area.

I have been involved with the Augusta Food Bank for the past 10 or more years. The Pre-release Center sends a crew every week to help out, and the services it provides will not be available or accessible if the facility closes.

They provide invaluable help in loading the vans, unpacking the food and delivering it to the deserving. Without their help, the Food Bank will be hard-pressed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

The Food Bank, however, is only a drop in the proverbial bucket that the Center serves. According to its website, the prisoners provide about 22,000 man-hours of free labor annually to citizens of greater Kennebec County and the surrounding region.

It is hard to fathom where the resources would come from to provide these services if the human power was taken away.

This letter doesn’t even beginning to address the effects of giving back that the prisoners experience — inarguably more profound than sitting in a cell — and effects that will go forward into life beyond the Center’s walls.


Isn’t the point of the penal system to affect change for the good?

I urge readers to contact Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, (at repcorey.wil [email protected]), or their local representative. The closure of this facility would be a short-sighted “solution” with long-term effects.

Michelle C. Perkins


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