Gov.-elect Paul LePage fulfilled a campaign promise this week by talking to local officials in Milo about supporting their bid for a for-profit prison to be built in their town.

The promise was kept, but talk is about as far as this idea ought to go for now.

Maine should not be too eager to jump into a prison management strategy that has had a mixed record elsewhere.

The Corrections Corporation of America, a donor to funds that supported Republican gubernatorial candidates including LePage, builds and operates correctional facilities on behalf of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. They have been in contact with the town of Milo and discussed building a detention center in Piscataquis County.

Town officials say that such a facility would create 300 jobs in an economically distressed area, but this may be a more complicated math problem than that.

People awaiting trial on federal charges and other detainees are currently being held at Maine jails, which receive payment from the federal government that the jails use to reduce costs for taxpayers.

A facility that helped one community while hurting the state budget would not be a good deal for Maine.

It also isn’t clear that a for-profit facility would be able to meet Milo’s financial expectations.

According to a study by the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, the thing that drives increases in Maine’s prison budget is the rising cost of health care for inmates.

The only cost a prison can control is what it pays its workers. Low wage jobs with high turnover would not be a good economic development strategy, even if the federal government eventually pays all the bills.

And while private prisons have alleviated overcrowding in other states, there are also human rights concerns that should not be dismissed lightly.

Several studies have shown higher rates of violence — both between inmates and inmates and staff — in private facilities, and they are not as accountable to the public.

LePage and the Legislature are right to explore private options for a range of government services, but they should not privatize this service without some deliberate study.