In 1909, power was given to judges of probate to commit any they deemed appropriate to the now-labeled School for the Feeble Minded:
In 1911, the Legislature established a Board of Trustees to oversee the School, as well as the “insane hospitals” in Augusta and Bangor:
In 1913, the Trustees of the School reported to the Legislature on the “most excellent work” being accomplished at the fledgling institution, despite great needs for better infrastructure and more funding to increase the population of residents – calls that would continue throughout the next 93 years. Their report demonstrates the thinking around working with people with developmental disabilities – that the goal was to make those that could be into capable and productive workers, while those that could not rise to that measure were an afterthought.
By 1914, the State Board of Charities and Corrections, which was the department in the Maine government overseeing the operation of both jails and institutions like Pineland, was echoing calls to expand the School, stating, “A conservative estimate…indicates that the state must plan to care for, altogether, at least 1500 persons of this class.” This report then suggested that “if their number is not to increase faster than the ability of the state to care for them…preference shall be given to females between the ages of 12 and 50 years, who are capable of bearing children.” The call to control the ability of those of “feeble mind” to reproduce would gather steam into the next decades.
In 1914, there were 253 people residing at the School for the Feeble Minded.
In 1915, a law passed to “prevent the aiding or abetting of the escape of inmates of the Maine School for Feeble Minded” placed fines and threats of imprisonment to any that might “knowingly harbor or conceal any one who has escaped” from the school. “Fugitives” from the School could also be arrested and returned.
In 1917, a law was added that allowed transfer of inmates of the two State Juvenile institutions, the State School for Boys and the State School for Girls, if they were “feeble minded” or “after his commitment, becomes feeble minded”:
By 1918, the School for the Feeble Minded had 278 residents.