FARMINGTON – Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. told a crowd during a protest Wednesday that he plans to upgrade the county jail’s status from that of a 72-hour holding facility, with or without the state’s approval.

About 100 residents came to the demonstration organized by Nichols, carrying signs and at one point briefly chanting “Give us our jail back.” Nichols said he hopes the protest sends a powerful message to state lawmakers that the system is broken and needs to change.

Nichols said his department will start hiring the personnel it needs to reopen the jail as a fully operating facility instead of a 72-hour holding facility.

He said the department will begin hiring more corrections officers, asking those who were laid off to resubmit applications and searching for someone to work in the jail’s kitchen.

Nichols said recent overwhelming backing from the county’s residents got more of a reaction from the Legislature than he and other county officials have been able to elicit.

Franklin County residents have been emailing, calling and sending letters to the Board of Corrections and state representatives and senators after a Facebook group administered by Nichols’ wife and son called “Give Franklin County Our Jail Back” urged them to do so. The group provides its 600 members with template letters and the contact information for the officials.

 

Kaitlin Schroeder can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

kschroeder@mainetoday.com