The Bulletin Board

State officials hosting online forum to discuss secure psychiatric facility proposal

By: - October 6, 2021 3:34 pm
A prison fence with a sign for the Secure Psychiatric Unit

Currently, the state’s only secure psychiatric hospital is within the state prison. (Dave Cummings | New Hampshire Bulletin)

With nearly $40 million in place to build a new secure psychiatric facility near the state hospital, state officials are hosting an online forum Thursday evening to discuss their proposal and take questions and comments from the public.

Currently, the state’s only secure psychiatric facility is within the state prison, where patients include jail and prison inmates; people who are involuntarily committed by a court; and individuals with developmental disabilities who require intervention for extreme dangerousness. Patients who have not been convicted of a crime would be relocated to the new forensic hospital. 

There’s been widespread agreement that they should be treated in a hospital setting, not in a prison. But disagreements over funding, location, and size have long stalled progress. The Legislature this year struck a compromise, putting $30 million in the budget and capping the hospital at 25 beds. That funding is in addition to the $8.75 million approved last year.

Thursday’s meeting will be the first of ongoing public sessions on the new hospital. Officials from the state Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Administrative Services, and New Hampshire Hospital will answer audience questions following their presentation. 

The virtual information session begins at 6 p.m. Attendees can join via Zoom.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.

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