CORNING -- Some Region 8 residents are concerned about mental patients with criminal records coming into their communities. If the Department of Human Services shuts down the Arkansas Partnership Program, it could mean the criminally insane could be housed here in Region 8.
The Department of Health plans to shut down the state's only treatment program for the criminally insane. Legislators met Wednesday in hopes of renewing a $3 million dollar contract to keep the Arkansas Partnership Program open.
70 percent of the patients in the APP have committed violent crimes, but were acquitted due to their illnesses. If the program closes on June 30, most of those patients would come to the Mid-South Health Systems facility in Corning. Right now, the facility only has 16 beds, so not all patients could come here.
"The building we consider it a lock down facility. It has a system in place that very much secures the building. If they are granted certain privileges to leave the building, then there are always staff that are with them," said White, "and we try to stay in contact with our law enforcement so if their are any concerns that they have found, and they are very supportive of the program."
Not all residents see it as a bad thing. Stephanie King thinks that the facility is good for the community.
Currently, a Little Rock Circuit Judge has the final say as to where the mental patients will go. Judge Mary McGowan says she's reluctant to authorize any transfers without substantial assurance of public safety.