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Facility Used to Treat the Mentally Ill in Ventura Stops Seeing Patients at its Controversial Location

A facility that treats the criminally insane is no longer treating patients at its controversial location in Ventura. Instead the psychiatrists are now treating patients in their individual homes. The conditional release program opened up at 40 West Santa Clara St. in Ventura at the beginning of November, outraging the people who live nearby.

City officials have admitted they mistakenly approved the permit that allowed the facility open up that location. Now they are doing what they can to get the CONREP facility to move somewhere else.

“They have appealed my decision that they do not belong in that location from a zoning perspective, so ultimately that appeal requires to have a hearing before the planning commission. We have not scheduled that hearing yet because they are also at the same time actively looking for a new location,” said Ventura Community Development Director Jeff Lambert.

The out-patient facility is used to continue treatment for the criminally insane after they are released from a psychiatric hospital. The newest patient who will be joining the program is Nicholas Bendle. Five years ago he used a hatchet to murdered a random man in Santa Maria. A judge released Bendle last week from Patton State Hospital and ordered him to begin treatment in the CONREP program.

David Attias is another patient being treated at the CONREP facility. He was found criminally insane after intentionally running down and killing four people in Isla Vista.

It could be months before the CONREP facility finds a new location to treat patients. The city of Ventura said the CONREP program is not just looking in the city of Ventura, they are also looking at other buildings at cities in the region.

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