Augusta Mental Health Institute (AMHI) Consent Decree
In 1990 a class action lawsuit was brought on behalf of residents of the Augusta Mental Health Institute after poor conditions and overcrowding led to the deaths of 10 residents of the hospital. This lawsuit resulted in what is now called the AMHI Consent Decree. The consent decree is a legally binding agreement between the plaintiffs (specific residents of the Augusta Mental Health Institute) and the defendants (at that time, the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, the Superintendent of AMHI, and the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services). It requires the State to establish and maintain a comprehensive mental health system responsive to individual needs. The terms of the decree are monitored by a court appointed special master. All people who have been admitted to AMHI since January 1, 1988 are considered “class members” and entitled to the rights of the decree. People admitted to AMHI (now Riverview Psychiatric Hospital) while the Consent Decree is being implemented, become a “class member” when they are admitted.
Click here for more information from the DHHS Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services on the Settlement Agreement, the Plan for meeting the Settlement Agreement requirements, and Quarterly Progress Reports.
Questions about the Decree can be directed to:
Questions about advocacy services related to the consent decree can be directed to:
For questions regarding your rights under the consent decree contact Maine DHHS: