Orange Co. psychiatric center to stay open after decision reversal

Posted: Updated:
NEW HAMPTON -

A psychiatric center in Orange County will remain open after the state Office of Mental Health reversed the decision to shut it down.

News 12 is told the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center houses hundreds of high-risk patients who were found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

The Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center was one of the psychiatric centers impacted by the state’s closure plans announced in 2013 to cut costs and reduce the number of state-run psychiatric centers.

"A lot of these clients would've ended in institutions or correctional facilities,” says Civil Service Employee Association President Billy Riccaldo. “And that's not where they belong to get help."

Riccaldo says the facility was supposed to start transferring patients last year, but the official request to do so never came.

News 12 is told Assemblyman James Skoufis pushed state officials to keep the facility open.

"It turned out well,” he said. “We're really proud of it. We're proud for the facility and we're happy for the clients."

The state Office of Mental Health tells News 12 that it has since revised its approach, with the goal of reducing unnecessary in-patient hospitalization.

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