Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jul 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Author: Clay Redden
Bookmark: (Treatment)


MONTGOMERY - The Lurleen B. Wallace Developmental Center on U.S. 31 in
Decatur could become a drug rehabilitation center if Gov. Bob Riley
accepts a recommendation to consolidate mental health facilities in
the state.

Riley could make a decision by next week.

Riley Press Secretary David Azbell said Tuesday night that turning the
Wallace Center and Tarwater Developmental Center in Wetumpka into
correctional drug rehab centers administered by the Alabama Department
of Mental Health and Mental Retardation is one of the recommendations
under consideration.

Azbell said it would be one way to reduce prison overcrowding and give
nonviolent drug offenders the help they need.

Mental Health Commissioner Kathy Sawyer submitted a proposal to Riley
several weeks ago to consolidate Wallace, Tarwater and the Brewer
Developmental Center in Daphne with Partlow Developmental Center in

Azbell said the governor has reviewed Sawyer's recommendations and
plans to sit down with her next week.

"To my knowledge, the governor hasn't made a final decision on whether
the plan will be fully implemented or whether certain aspects of it
will be implemented," said Azbell. "It would be hard to argue that
there's not a need for some consolidation to occur in our Mental
Health agency." Under the proposal, residents of the developmental
centers will either be moved to Partlow, placed in community group
homes or allowed to go home with 24-hour care paid with state and
federal funds.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin