AUGUSTA (AP) — A Democratic legislative leader says Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to replace the Maine Correctional Center at a $100 million cost came as a surprise.

At a wide-ranging news conference Wednesday, Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland said there doesn’t seem to be a demand for more space in the medium- and minimum-security compound. But he said Democrats and the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will closely evaluate LePage’s proposal to replace the Windham facility.

The current compound has a mostly-male population of 622 inmates. It’s been expanded and modified in piecemeal fashion for several decades, which prison officials say compromises efficiency. Le- Page proposed on Tuesday using government facilities bonds, in which debt is secured by the tax-supported agency budgets, for the project.

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