The Oregon State Hospital in Junction City could be axed as part of Governor Brown’s broad budget cuts. But as KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, a state lawmaker is working on a proposal that could spare the psychiatric facility.
In trying to fix the state’s $1.6 billion budget shortfall, the governor has considered permanently closing the hospital next year…which would save nearly $35 million annually.
But Democratic State Senator James Manning of District 7 says he’s hoping that some additional, unused space at the facility could ease prison overcrowding. He spoke to KLCC while touring the hospital.
“Some time ago, there was talk about spending $100 million to build another women’s prison," says Manning. "Well, my research and the people I’ve talked to at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for women…is that 70 percent of the women there are there for non-violent offenses. So this facility would be great to handle some of those patients.”
Manning says it’d save money, and keep 422 jobs in the immediate area.
Correction: An earlier version of this story inferred that Oregon Representative Julie Fahey had co-written a letter with Manning supporting the idea of turning part of the Oregon Hospital into a space for inmates. A spokesman with Fahey's office says she signed and sent a letter with several other lawmakers including Manning, but it was to simply express support for keeping the Oregon Hospital open.
Copyright 2017, KLCC News.