AUGUSTA — A judge says lawmakers will decide the fate of a Maine prison emptied by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy declined to weigh in on whether the state should bring back more inmates or employees in a court order obtained by the AP on Monday

LePage this year emptied the prison, which has long faced shutdown efforts. Supporters say it provides jobs and prison labor to a rural community.

Murphy ordered Maine to operate the prison until it runs out of funding in June.

Unions representing workers at Downeast Correctional Facility argued the LePage administration didn’t add enough staff or inmates.

But Murphy said lawmakers are free to require specific staffing and inmate levels.

Legislative efforts for additional funding for Downeast have lacked sufficient support so far.

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