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Sununu Says Budget Will Include Plan For New Secure Psychiatric Unit

paige sutherland /nhpr

Governor Chris Sununu says he'll likely unveil his plan to establish a secure psychiatric unit outside of the state prison when he proposes his state budget next month. 

For 30 years the state's only secure psychiatric unit has been at the state prison, which means patients needing secure treatment from the state, have had to get it, behind prison walls.

The state has faced lawsuits over the unit, and mental health advocates have been calling for a different approach for years. Governor Sununu promised to take action in his inaugural address, and says his state budget will spell out the details.

"It could be a new facility on the grounds of the state hospital, it could be a new private facility. It could be a facility that looks at how we are going to adjust the population -- don't forget we have kids who have a whole different set of requirements within the mental health system."

Sununu says he'll propose using money in the state's surplus account to help pay for the new facility, but it will also involve bonding.    

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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