ST. PETER – Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson visited Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter on Wednesday to highlight the urgent need to build a safer, more therapeutic facility for mentally ill and dangerous patients.
Jesson said “Our bonding request is critical for the future of Minnesota Security Hospital and we hope legislators will recognize the importance of creating a better, safer environment for our patients and our employees.”
Minnesota Security Hospital primarily treats patients committed by the courts as mentally ill and dangerous. The current facility includes split-level residential wings, narrow stairways and poor sightlines.
Officials say those features create risks for patients and employees and make it difficult to monitor patients effectively.
Governor Mark Dayton recommended the full request of $56 million to construct a new facility.
Currently, the House bonding bill would fund $15 million less than the full request. The Senate bill has not been released.
During her visit, Jesson met with employees of Minnesota Security Hospital and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), which share the St. Peter campus. The bonding request would help physically separate the distinct programs onto the upper and lower campuses.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is also seeking $7.4 million for renovations to accommodate MSOP clients in the later stages of treatment. The House bill does not fund this request.