State Hospital, correctional center work together

Aug 17, 2012

At the time, it was a very controversial decision – to build a new prison facility on the grounds of the state hospital in Jamestown.

But retiring state Human Services director Carol Olson says it has worked out well.

Olson says when the James River Correctional Center was proposed, her department sat down with groups like the Mental Health Association, who were concerned about the mixing of the traditional state hospital patients with people sentenced to prison.

"We assured them that those patients are going to be fine," said Olson. "Their treatment isn't going to be affected."

Olson said that co-location has worked well.

"We treat the inmates for substance abuse issues," said Olson. "And we have been extremely successful there."

Olson said the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has been very happy with the work DHS staff in Jamestown has been doing.

"The outcomes we have in treating those with addiction problems has worked out very well," said Olson. "The rescividism rate among that group is very low."

Olson says thanks go to the staffs of her department, as well as the Department of Corrections, for having the passion to make it work.