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Wathen Says Mental Health Cuts Won't Work
01/22/2010 11:46 AM ET  

The former Maine Chief Justice, who now oversees court-ordered improvements in mental health services, says any savings from proposed cuts are illusory.

Among the cuts the governor is proposing in his latest budget bill, are some aimed at service for the mentally ill. Those are drawing a rebuke from former Maine Chief Justice Dan Wathen, now a court master overseeing court-ordered improvements in mental health services.

Wathen told the Legislature's Health and Human Services committee that some of the governor's cuts just won't work. "We're not going to let people run around when they're psychotic and cause problems, and not do anything for them -- we're not going to do that --we just can't," Wathen told lawmakers. "And I don't care what the sitatuion is, we'll do something. We'll take them to jail, we'll do something."

That being the case, Wathen said, money cut from the state mental health budget may end up being paid for by other state, or local governmental entities. In the end, Wathen said, that would make any savings illusory. But Attorney General Janet Mills told legislators they can cut mental health services, just as they can any other services offerred by the state.



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