Behavioral health facility study passed

The state will determine whether abandoned facilities in Hastings can be renovated for use as a treatment center for mentally ill and substance addicted inmates under a bill passed April 10.

Introduced by Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford, LB999 initially was drafted to make administrative changes to Nebraska’s criminal justice system to revise its focus from incarceration to transitioning offenders to re-enter the community.

The amended measure authorizes the state Department of Health and Human Services to study the feasibility of establishing a behavioral health center at the site of the former Hastings Regional Center. The department must provide the governor, by Dec. 15, 2014, a program statement that examines:
• long-term needs of mentally ill and substance addicted inmates;
• renovation or construction of facilities for up to 200 inmates at the center;
• criteria for inmates to be placed in the center;
• programs needed to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment; and
• estimated costs of building renovation, staffing, operation and a proposed project schedule.

Senators passed LB999 on a 47-0 vote.

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