Central New York Psychiatric growth may aid Utica workers

MARCY — A new ward for sex offenders is being added at the Central New York Psychiatric Center.

Some 30 jobs will be created by the action, and some of these positions will go to state mental health workers facing layoff at a nearby Utica facility.

Operations at the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center are about to be downsized. Two adult inpatient wards have been targeted for closure and a third one is to be moved to a similar hospital in Syracuse. A total of 139 local jobs are in jeopardy as adult inpatient services are eliminated at Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center.

It is unclear whether all 30 of the new jobs at the Marcy facility will be given to workers leaving the Utica location. Additionally, some of the employers laid off at Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center may be able to move to the Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracuse.

The Central New York Psychiatric Center provides care and treatment to persons incarcerated in the state and county correctional system. There are approximately 700 people working there now.

The inpatient facility also includes the Northeast Central Regional Forensic Unit, which provides inpatient services for pretrial detainees from upstate county jails, including evaluations for competency to stand trial and not guilty by reason of insanity.

In addition to its forensic and outpatient programs, the center has a sex offender treatment program that house sex offenders after they have completed their prison sentences or parole terms. It is this component of the center that is being expanded.

There is opposition to ending adult inpatient services in Utica from local officials, employees, and families and friends of patients affected by the downsizing. However, so far there’s no indication that the state Office of Mental Health is going to back off from the plan announced earlier this year.