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News stories tagged with "mental-health"

Reducing stress on the farm

Farming is one of the most stressful occupations. And with rising fuel prices and a sagging economy, those stresses are very real for many farmers in the North Country. Cornell University has a help line. NY FarmNet offers free and confidential counseling and help reducing stress on the farm. Counselor Ruth Meltz told Gregory Warner, one of the most stressful things for anybody is feeling out of control. And that's a reality of farm life.  Go to full article

Reforming sex offenders, with Hollywood's help

One of the touchiest subjects about sex offenders is recidivism. Some say that therapy isn't effective because sex offenders will almost always try to repeat their crimes. And that's true--for a very small percentage of sexual predators. But most sex offenders have low recidivism rates, lower than any other criminal except murderers. St. Lawrence County just launched a new treatment program for sex offenders. It's a 16-week program meant to teach so-called "low-risk" offenders to control their behavior. It also prepares them for the next 20 years of probation. Gregory Warner stopped by one class in Potsdam. They had just watched The Woodsman the week before, a 2004 film where Kevin Bacon plays a child molester just released from prison.  Go to full article

NY Senators Pledge to Pass "Timothy's Law"

Advocates for parity for mental health insurance scored a partial victory when the State Senate promised to act on the bill known as Timothy's Law when Senators return to Albany in the fall. As Karen DeWitt reports, the win was achieved by patient persistence by every day citizens.  Go to full article

A Day in Mental Health Court

The Champlain Valley chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness gives its top award to Judge Penelope Clute in Plattsburgh tonight. It's an unusual partnership. The criminal justice system isn't well suited to dealing with the mentally ill. Jails and prisons are the de facto asylums of our times. Judge Clute is breaking ground in Clinton County, with a court specifically designed for people with severe mental illness. Mental health court codifies a team approach that brings the mental health and the justice systems together. It gives people with mental illness new opportunities to stay out of jail, and the "system" new leverage to intervene. There are only eight other courts like it in the state. Gregory Warner went to court, and has this story.  Go to full article

Ogdensburg Council Approves Civil Confinement Unit

The Ogdensburg city council passed a resolution Monday night supporting the civil confinement of violent sexual predators at the St Lawrence Psychiatric Center. Up to 80 offenders could be confined for an indefinite period after their release from prison, when the facility opens this winter. Supporters say it will mean up to 180 new jobs, but there's still lingering public opposition to the plan.  Go to full article

Civil Confinement Unit for Sexual Predators set for Ogdensburg

Over 40 'sexually violent predators' are currenly being civilly confined in New York - held by the state after their criminal sentences are completed.
Governor Pataki cleared two major hurdles in his effort to build a permanent civil confinement facility at the St Lawrence PSychiatric Center in Ogdensburg, as well as other sites around the state.
Lawmakers approved the measure in the budget. And last week an appellate court ruled that the legislation, similar to that in over a dozen other states, is legal.
The union that represents workers at St Lawrence Psychiatric Center has endorsed the project, as have corrections officer's unions. Even residents opposed to the plan agree the issue is settled.

Still, about 50 people came to a special town hall meeting in Ogdensburg last night to get their questions heard.  Go to full article

Some Ogdensburg Residents Protest Civil Confinement of Sex Offenders

Since 1998, Governor Pataki has proposed civil confinement legilislation that would enable New York State to civilly commit violent sex offenders after their release from prison. Republicans this year have pushed hard for such legislation this year, and lawmakers in Albany now seem close to a compromise bill. The governor's proposed budget provides $192 million for the project, the bulk of which would go towards capital costs to prepare 8 selected housing sites around the state to accept civilly confined sexual offenders as soon as October of 2006. One of those eight proposed sites is a building at St Lawrence Psychiatric Center, in Ogdensburg. As Gregory Warner reports, local residents aren't all happy about the idea.  Go to full article

Plattsburgh to Launch Mental Health Court

Plattsburgh is launching a new mental health court, the first in the region. The court will be for misdemeanor offenders. The new concept court will be a collaborative effort between criminal justice and mental health professionals.  Go to full article
Brittany Chase
Brittany Chase

Raise Your Voice: Foster Care Saves a Rebel

We begin a new project for North Country Public Radio. It's called Raise Your Voice: Stories from North Country Teens. We gave three young women recorders and asked them to document their daily lives. The resulting stories will air Monday mornings in June on The 8 O'Clock Hour. The project is a collaboration with North Country Adolescent Outreach, a peer education program based at SUNY Potsdam. Today we hear from Brittany Chase. Brittany is 16 years old. She lives in a foster home in Potsdam. Strife in her biological family landed her in the foster care system. Brittany says it saved her life.  Go to full article

Seasonal Resident Dies of Rare Brain Ailment

A summer resident of Cranberry Lake died earlier this month from a rare illness known as sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Timothy Smith was sixty years old. The devastating brain ailment appears to occur randomly. But the disease is often confused with "mad cow," an illness spread by infected cattle. Smith was a part-time farmer who raised cattle. But as Brian Mann reports, health and agriculture officials say there's no indication that his herd was contaminated.  Go to full article

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