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AUGUSTA, Maine (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. LePage 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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