Maj. Raymond Porter has been named Maine Sheriffs' Association Manager of the Year.

Porter began his corrections career with the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office as a full-time corrections officer in 1993. According to a press release from the Sheriffs' Association, Porter’s "exceptional attitude and aptitude" resulted in promotions to corporal in 1996 and sergeant in 1999.

In 2000, then-Sheriff Scott Story promoted Porter to the position of jail administrator, which he held until he departed for a post with the Maine Probation and Parole Office in 2005. During his seven-year hiatus from the Sheriff’s Office, Porter "continued to progress in his career and developed exceptional case management experience," the press release said.

In 2012, with the recently created Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center in need of a new administrator to guide this young program, Sheriff Story asked Porter to return to the Sheriff’s Office as jail administrator, and Porter returned to that post, which now included responsibility for guiding the Reentry Center.

In 2015 a study was conducted of the MCRRC to gauge the success of the program. The study showed that, since 2010, 126 males had graduated from the reentry program. The graduates, who ranged in age from teens to seniors, were evaluated as 19-percent medium risk, 54-percent high risk and 16.7-percent maximum risk, with significant risk factors as potentially serious impediments to their successful reintegration into society.

The report indicated that despite a national average recidivism rate of 67.8 percent,  MCRRC graduates were experiencing recidivism rate of 31 percent.

In addition, while participating in the program, those residents conducted community service and gained employment. Community service totaled approximately 22,000 hours, and at $7.50 an hour, that translated into $172,095 given back to the community.

Residents are also required to pay toward their fines, restitution, child support and board. This resulted in $103,707 paid back to the facility in boarding fees, $60,136 paid toward fines and restitution, and $171,934 paid in child support. Now, with seven years of operation, those numbers have climbed higher.

In 2010, Commissioner William Shorey began the Waldo County Garden Project on five leased acres in Swanville. MCRRC residents provided the labor to plant, maintain, harvest and deliver the produce to food pantries and local nonprofit organizations around Waldo County. During seven years of operation, the garden has grown from producing a little over 20,000 pounds in the first year to producing 109,000 pounds in the 2017 growing season. All of the produce from the project is given to those in need through a network of food pantries, soup kitchens and nonprofit organizations throughout the county.

"Porter has worked tirelessly over the past two years to prepare the facility to gain its PREA certification," according to the press release. In January 2018, the auditing process began "and we hope to be the second county in Maine to gain our certification," the press release said.

While the statistics represent MCRRC milestones, "The figures do not encompass the impact on human lives, families and the community with the reduction of crime and victimization," the press release said. "All these things have been accomplished under the guiding hand of Maj. Raymond Porter. His dedication and passion for reentry shows every day in his commitment to change the lives of residents.

"Maj. Porter is loved and deeply respected by those who work with him and for him, " the announcement said. "For the reasons above and many unspoken, this is why Maj. Raymond Porter was recognized as the MSA Manager of the Year."