Competency Restoration Programs

The Department of Social and Health Services operates licensed residential treatment facilities where justice-involved people receive mental health services geared toward restoring competency to stand trial. People ordered into competency restoration will be assessed through a centralized screening process to determine which RTF best matches the person’s unique needs for mental health treatment and recovery.

June 17, 2019 - In December 2018, the U.S. District Court of Washington approved a contempt settlement agreement (Trueblood Settlement Agreement) in the Trueblood as Next Friend of AB et al. v Washington State Department of Social and Health Services lawsuit. As part of that agreement, the interim competency restoration programs located at both the Maple Lane facility and within the Yakima Department of Corrections facility will close. See letter for more information.

Transporting Patients

State law gives the DSHS secretary the discretion for placement for competency restoration. See RCW 10.77.084(1)(b), 10.77.086(1)(a)(i) and 10.77.088(1)(a). Transportation for patients coming from jails will be arranged by the sending county. Patients coming to the alternate site from a state psychiatric hospital will be transported by DSHS.

RCW 10.77.078 states that jails must transport a defendant to competency restoration sites within one day of an offer of admission and must provide a defendant's medical clearance to the state hospital admissions staff. In order to make efficient use of the new facilities, and place defendants in the most appropriate facility, DSHS requests that jails work with admissions staff in screening individuals for placement.

Visitation from Counsel

Just like the state hospitals, attorneys are able to visit patients at the facilities or communicate by telephone. Plans are underway to develop a videoconferencing system that would enable attorneys to be present via video for face-to-face evaluations by an evaluator.

For questions regarding general questions or admissions and transport for specific individuals, please contact OFMHSwebsite@dshs.wa.gov.

Competency Restoration Programs: Supplemental Curriculum Materials

The Breaking Barriers Competency Restoration Program is the competency restoration program implemented by BHA. The program has the following components:

  1. Admission assessment of the patient’s barriers to competency.
  2. Treatment planning that includes the patient’s barriers to competency.
  3. Treatment that addresses the patient’s barriers to competency. As part of this treatment, the BBCRP has a standardized manual for group education and treatment.
  4. Monitoring of the patient’s barriers to competency.
  5. Referral process to refer a patient prior to the term of their court order for a competency evaluation.

As part of the treatment, the following materials are approved as supplemental to the standardized manual and competency restoration providers may use these materials as needed:

Fort Steilacoom Competency Restoration Program Residential Treatment Facility