Governor LePage Signs Bill to Create Treatment Beds for Addicts, Women

April 19, 2016

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Contact: Peter A. Steele, Communications Director

AUGUSTA – To combat the deadly drug epidemic now ravaging our state, Governor Paul R. LePage today signed LD 1447, his bill that for the first time in Maine’s history adds 200 beds to provide treatment for offenders addicted to drugs.

The Governor’s bill is titled, “An Act To Authorize the Maine Governmental Facilities Authority To Issue Securities To Pay for the Capital Repairs and Improvements to the Maine Correctional Center in South Windham and a Facility Owned by the Department of Corrections in Washington County.”

In addition to the treatment beds, the bill creates for the first time forensic mental health beds for female offenders and the first medical beds specifically for female offenders. It also creates for the first time a geriatric wing to care for older offenders. These are all first-of-their-kind beds; none existed in Maine before Governor LePage crafted his bill.

The beds will be created in a newly expanded and renovated statewide correctional facility in Windham. Governor LePage cut $30 million from the cost of the project by reducing the footprint of the new facility and renovating existing structures, rather than constructing more new buildings.

“The legislature took a year-and-a-half to authorize less than half the drug agents we need to take dealers off the streets, then criticized my administration for not providing treatment to addicts,” said Governor LePage. “While they were stalling and pandering to the press, we were working on a real solution for treating addicts, as well as to provide care for women and older prisoners. We are not just warehousing people; we are caring for them in a new facility that will provide treatment for addicts, women and offenders from all over the state.”

“Even better, we did it in a fiscally responsible way, cutting the cost from $179 million to $149 million and using a facilities bond that will be repaid through cost savings in the Department of Corrections,” said Governor LePage. “When we tackle problems from a business-like perspective, rather than political posturing in an election year, we can achieve meaningful results for the Maine people.”