Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 26, 2013

Southwestern in limbo — again

Patti Dozier
CNHI

THOMASVILLE — Every couple of years, Southwestern State Hospital’s future is a topic of conversation and concern.

The Thomasville state mental hospital was among the subjects discussed at a recent Thomas County Republican Party forum for local legislators.

The subject arose when Thomas County Sheriff Carlton Powell told legislators many people in the community have mental illness and should be hospitalized.

He added there is a “good chance” Southwestern will close in a year or two.

District 175 state Rep. Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, responded that the federal government sued Georgia, calling for removing patients from mental hospitals.

The federal government got involved, she said, because of deaths at the facilities.

“The Department of Justice decided there were too many people in mental hospitals,” Carter said. According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs said mental patients should be out of hospitals and in communities.

District 173 state Rep. Darlene Taylor, R-Thomasville, interjected that the American Civil Liberties Union also sued, saying patients must be released and live in communities.

See Sunday's edition for more details.