Atascadero State Hospital

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Atascadero State Hospital
Construction Began 1954
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan



Located on California's Central Coast, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) is an all-male, maximum security, forensic facility serving the entire state of California. ASH opened in 1954 and is a completely self-contained psychiatric hospital constructed within a security perimeter. ASH has a licensed capacity of 1275 beds, of which 204 are acute/psychiatric and 1071 are intermediate care. All residents at Atascadero State Hospital are male and have a mental disability and pose a threat to others or themselves. The majority are remanded for treatment by the superior courts of the counties of California or by the Department of Corrections pursuant to various sections of the California Penal Code and the Welfare and Institutions Code. Individuals are admitted from state prisons, county jails or are transferred from other state hospitals. The hospital does not accept voluntary admissions.

As a public sector facility, ASH's mission is linked to public policy. ASH has undergone a number of changes due to shifting public, professional, and legislative policy and law regarding the relationship between crime and mental disorders. The hospital's current mission includes the provision of a secure environment that protects the community as well as the people within the hospital, evaluations to the courts and other agencies, and recovery-focused treatment and rehabilitation services.