PORTLAND (AP) — A Maine state lawmaker wants to expand the state’s Veterans Treatment Court to other areas.

Democratic Rep. Lori Fowle of Vassalboro introduced a funding bill, which will go before lawmakers Tuesday, after attending the first Veterans Treatment Court graduation last year.

Under the program, veterans convicted of crimes can avoid lengthy prison terms if they meet strict requirements set by the court.

Fowle told the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1imsr3z ) she was inspired by former U.S. Marine Sgt. Travis Bentley, who almost failed the program because he was living in Lebanon and had to travel to Augusta to attend court.

Bentley went through the program after getting caught robbing pharmacies to feed his addiction to painkillers prescribed for injuries suffered during his two tours in Iraq. He has been clean for nearly three years.

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