The staff and resources are already stretched to the limit at PCJ, but now COVID is making things so much worse.

Sheriff Troy Morton tells us that the situation is beyond challenging at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor, where the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a shutdown for any new admissions. What that means is that the only arrestees currently being accepted at PCJ are the most violent offenders. All others are being diverted to Ellsworth, Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, or any facility that has room.

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If there's one thing the Penobscot County Jail does not have, it's room. As of Tuesday, October 12th, the jail had 173 inmates in-house, 51 that are boarded out, and 106 in Maine Pretrial services. The facility is state rated to hold 157 inmates. Staff members at the jail are doing their best to make the overcrowding situation work, but COVID has added a whole new challenge.

According to Sheriff Morton, the latest statistics show 24 inmates and 10 staff members who are positive for COVID-19. Of course, these numbers are fluid, as some of the people currently positive for the virus could be back by the end of the week.

Sheriff Morton wanted to send a thank you to all the corrections officers who are trying to make the best of a tough situation.

While law enforcement is often recognized, and it's well-deserved, our correctional staff doesn't receive the same deserved thanks and recognition.

This is the second time the PCJ has closed to all but violent arrestees. An outbreak last February forced jail officials to limit their intake. The Cumberland County Jail closed last week for the same reasons.

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