With its first patients due in September, the 1.25-million-square-foot Coalinga State Hospital near Fresno will house 250 of California’s most violent sexual offenders, reports the Fresno Bee. It is only the fifth mental hospital in the state. Its cheerful color scheme and use of familiar landmark names are intended to trigger pleasant memories among the offenders, said administrator Thomas Hunt. Rooms and corridors have names linked to historical and colorful locations like Candlestick Park, Angel Island, Union Square, Golden Gate Avenue, El Camino Real, and U.S. Route 66. “We wanted different colors versus institutional gray,” Hunt said. “It’s more therapeutic. We’re trying to take the clinical edge off.” In addition, the bright interior helps boost employee morale.
“Pastels tend to calm people who tend to be violent,” said one expert. “It calms them and prevents their anger from escalating.” Patients will occupy 29 housing units. Treatment is designed to help offenders develop skills and behaviors for managing their deviant conduct and for reducing their risk of re-offending. Those who complete the first four phases of treatment are returned to the county from which they were committed and are continually monitored in the fifth phase of the treatment program. Participants may be released to the community from which they came, when a judge is convinced they no longer pose a threat to society.