FARMINGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Franklin County Sheriff led a rally Wednesday protesting the situation the Franklin County Jail finds itself in - caught in the middle of a disagreement between the State Board of Corrections and Somerset County jail.
The state is withholding a quarterly payment to The Somerset County Jail that is supposed to pay for the inmates there. The state takes issue with the way Somerset County is spending that money. Meanwhile, Franklin County is supposed to send its inmates there, but Somerset County won't take them until the state pays the money it owes.
With Somerset County refusing to take its prisoners, Franklin County has been scrambling to find beds for its inmates, sometimes transporting them more than a hundred miles to another facility.
Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols says he's fed up. He won't send the state any more money to run the jails, as the law requires him to do. Instead, he'll use the money to make Franklin County a fully functioning jail again using local tax payers' money.
Many of the people in that county agree.
"My message is I'd like to keep our tax dollars local," Joan Patterson told NEWS CENTER after attending the rally. "I don't see why we have to send them to the state. We can operate our jail at a less cost than they are charging us to transport our prisoners, and transport them all over the state."
The state is withholding 280 thousand dollars it owes to the Somerset County Jail for housing federal prisoners and prisoners from outside the county. The county wants to use that money for county expenses, including paying back a $30 million bond to build the jail. The State Board of Corrections says that may not be alllowed.