(Concord, N.H.) The New Hampshire Department of Corrections opened a new 8,000 square foot, forty bed wing of the Secure Psychiatric Unit/Residential Treatment Unit (SPU/RTU) in Concord on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The new wing will be used to provide treatment and support for inmates with mental illness who are unable to function within the general prison population.
This was Phase II of a capital improvement project that was implemented in response to the 2007 Holliday Court Order which required the Department to co-locate a forty bed RTU and to maintain thirty beds for patients who are civilly committed to the SPU. In 2009 the New Hampshire Legislature allocated $3.3 million in capital funds for the project but it was completed under budget at a cost of approximately $2.8 million.
Renovations were completed on existing program space adjacent to the new “J” Ward including staff offices, dayrooms, counseling space, and handicap showers. A new stairwell was added in the South Yard for improved maintenance access to the roof and mechanical areas. Partition walls were built to create two additional treatment rooms. Therapy booths to allow for group counseling and functions were built in a day room. Outdoor concrete slabs were added to the South and North Yards adjacent to the construction wing for better security management.
Commissioner William L. Wrenn said, “This new wing will allow the Department to provide much need services to appropriate offenders while promoting a safe and secure environment.”
The RTU is a therapeutic community for inmates that suffer significant functional impairment due to their documented mental illness. Inmates who are assessed, diagnosed, and placed in the RTU receive intensive services that are not available in the Department’s regular mental health outpatient programs. An individualized treatment plan is implemented by a staff psychiatrist and other mental health clinicians assigned to the unit. The treatment plan is balanced with other programs that general population inmates are able to take advantage of.