Maine Gov. To Release “Low Risk” Inmates To Fix Seasonal Worker Shortage: Good Or Bad Idea?

(File Photo)

The state of Maine is experiencing a shortage of seasonal workers this summer and it's threatening the state's tourism industry. Businesses in the town of Old Orchard Beach that usually hire seasonal help this time of year are facing a serious worker shortage and are desperate for new employees. Maine Governor Paul LePage has a crazy, albeit creative plan to fix the worker shortage: releasing "low risk" inmates early to fill seasonal positions. LePage has already granted conditional commutations for 17 low-risk inmates, and has plans to identify even more inmates for early release.

One business open to the idea of hiring these released inmates is the OOB House of Pizza which has had to close three days a week due to a lack of employees. "It's extremely frustrating," co-owner Mikhele Kuntz told NECN News. Kuntz said she would be willing to consider a candidate who had just been released from prison. "I actually do employ someone who has spent some time in jail," she said. "He's my grill cook. He's amazing. I don't hold people's past against them."

Mike Agam, another Old Orchard Beach business owner, doesn't quite agree with the governor's plan. "There's a reason why they're in jail," said Agam, who is looking to hire at least eight more people to work at his Beach Fantasy apparel shop downtown. "Let's hire people, who are good people, from outside first."

Tune into The John Gibson Show at 2pm ET and call in to 888-788-9910 to let us know if you think hiring recently released inmates is a good idea!