Andrea Yates is about to get a change of scenery, which is a result of her conviction being overturned.
Andrea Yates, the Houston mother who drowned her five children in the family's bathtub, will soon move from an East Texas prison to a state mental hospital as she awaits a new capital murder trial.
Prosecutor Joe Owmby said today that Yates will be moved to the Rusk State Hospital, less than a half-mile away from the Skyview prison, a psychiatric unit where she's been jailed for nearly three years.
The Harris County Sheriff's Department, which is responsible for transporting Yates to the hospital and to future court appearances, is awaiting court documents before transferring Yates, spokesman Lt. John Martin. He said security concerns prohibited him from saying when Yates would be moved.
Yates' attorney, George Parnham, who has worked for months to get Yates into a state mental hospital, said he visited Yates twice last week to help prepare her for the move. While he wouldn't provide details on those discussions, Parnham said Yates is scared about the transition.
"All parties agree that she was and is mentally ill, and she needs the expert assistance," Parnham said.
Owmby said his office didn't contest the plans to move Yates.
"It's not like they are transferring her to some civilian, private care facility," Owmby said. "That is not what is going on. This is a place we send prisoners."
The 275-bed hospital treats adult patients who cannot be released without a psychiatrist's approval, superintendent Ted Debbs said. The hospital currently treats about 10 patients found innocent of crimes due to insanity, he said.
"Even though we are not a prison, we are a locked facility," Debbs said.