Senate confirms LePage’s jails chief

Posted Feb. 15, 2011, at 12:39 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate has confirmed Joseph Ponte as commissioner of Maine’s Corrections Department, which oversees six facilities housing more than 1,800 inmates.

Gov. Paul LePage’s nominee received a 34-0 vote of approval Tuesday, a day after the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee endorsed his nomination.

Ponte has held administrative positions in corrections systems in several other states. His resume shows he’s also worked for a private firm that runs prisons, including Corrections Corporation of America, his employer since 2006.

LePage said Ponte’s association with CCA should not be taken as a gesture favoring privatization of Maine’s prison system.