Department of Human Services officials break ground this (Monday) morning for a new facility in Cherokee. The Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders has held patients since 1999 who’ve served their prison sentences but are considered too dangerous — at high risk to re-offend — to release into the general population. Up to now they’ve been housed at the prison system’s Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale. The new unit will be a wing of the Mental Health Institute in Cherokee, where the state is paying a little over two-Million dollars to outfit space and move the patients. Counselors say the clients will be better handled in the human services mental-health system than the prison system, and the corrections department needs the space they’ve been occupying at Oakdale. The move of nearly forty patients and expansion in Cherokee will mean more than fifty new jobs there.
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