Media Contact


Communications Director, ACLU of Maine
(646) 820-4548 (call/text)

March 26, 2024

LD 2046 would make permanent a law allowing the state to incarcerate legally innocent people instead of providing necessary medical care. 

AUGUSTA – “The ACLU of Maine applauds the Maine State Senate’s rejection of a bill that would undermine the bedrock principle that all people are innocent until proven guilty,” said ACLU of Maine Policy Counsel Michael Kebede. “LD 2046 would have made permanent a law that allows the state to imprison legally innocent people who need health care.”

Current law allows the Department of Health and Human Services to transfer people who have been ruled incompetent to stand trial to the Intensive Mental Health Unit at the Maine State Prison. This was not intended to be a permanent solution.

The 2021 law is set to expire on July 1, 2024. The House of Representatives two weeks ago approved a measure allowing the practice to continue indefinitely. The Senate today instead passed a measure extending the sunset clause to July 1, 2027, and convening a group to study ways we can provide behavioral health care outside of a prison setting.

“Maine should not send legally innocent people to prison, for healthcare or for any other reason,” said Kebede. “If we have the capacity to care for people with acute mental illness in a prison setting, then we have the capacity to do the same outside of a prison setting. We call on members of the House to join their Senate colleagues by setting a clear end date to this practice.”