AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers have advanced a proposal to create a mental health unit at Maine State Prison in an effort to help a state-run psychiatric hospital in danger of losing $20 million in federal funding.
The Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the bill on Thursday. It now heads to the full Legislature for a vote.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration has been urging lawmakers to approve the bill to cut down on overcrowding at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, which potentially could lose half its operating budget on Sept. 2 because it fails to meet several certification standards.
The amended bill includes several limitations, such as the prohibition of the transfer of patients to the prison unit that have been found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.