JULY 8, 2004 - Posted at 7:39 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - State officials are open to keeping in operation a privately-run treatment program for the criminally insane, if costs can be significantly trimmed.
Officials say plans are still in place to shut the program down at the end of the year.
Last month, the Department of Human Services agreed to a six-month extension on a contract with Liberty Corporation to run the Arkansas Partnership Program at the State Hospital, after plans to move 39 patients to a facility in Corning collapsed.
The agency plans to find alternative providers and go ahead with a cost-saving changeover at the end of the year, if it receives court approval. The Legislative Council is to review the contract next week.