August 31, 2013

Send dangerous patients to unit at Warren

Letter to the editor

I have been involved for well over two decades in pushing for reform in how we handle "not guilty by reason of insanity" court-committed individuals for serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape and assault.

During that time, the Augusta Mental Health Institute and now Riverview Psychiatric Center housed many dangerous NGRI individuals, and we have seen serious attacks on hospital employees and the murder of a young citizen in Augusta.

We should not expect hospital employees to risk their lives dealing with dangerous NGRI individuals. In the time it takes to call for outside help, a mental heath worker or citizen can be killed.

In 1986, I learned that the Forensic Unit had been previously located in Thomaston until 1906. At that time, the unit was moved to AMHI largely because the roads were so bad psychiatrists could not readily travel to treat these individuals at Thomaston.

To ensure the safety of our dedicated mental health workers and all Mainers, we need to move violent NGRI individuals back to the Maine State Prison where they belong.

The time has come for a common-sense solution to this very serious problem.

David H. Crockett, Augusta

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