Federal Judge gives final approval to Trueblood settlement agreement

Release Date: 
Dec 12 2018
DSHS Office of Communications
Kelly Stowe
kelly.stowe@dshs.wa.gov
360-902-7739

OLYMPIA—The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) along with Disability Rights Washington got the green light yesterday, December 11, 2018, on an agreement that will improve access to mental health treatment for people waiting in jail for competency evaluations and restoration services.

Western District Court of Washington Judge Marsha Pechman gave her final approval of a settlement agreement Disability Rights Washington and DSHS proposed to the court this past August.

“This Trueblood agreement increases diversion programs and will work to get people with mental illness the help they need before entering the criminal justice system,” said Cheryl Strange, Secretary of DSHS. “We are working diligently alongside Governor Inslee to bring his plan for behavioral health transformation to fruition, including transforming Western and Eastern state hospitals into forensic centers of excellence and creating state run community-based facilities to help people get the treatment they need and continue living in their home communities.”

Trueblood, formally known as Trueblood et.al. v DSHS, is a federal court case challenging unconstitutional delays in competency evaluation and restoration services. Because of this case, the state has been ordered to provide court-ordered in-jail competency evaluations within 14 days and inpatient competency evaluation and restoration services within seven days. The proposed settlement enhances and develops access to services for individuals who are in city and county jails awaiting competency evaluation or restoration and those who have previously received competency evaluation and restoration services, who are released and at-risk for re-arrest or re-institutionalization.

The approved agreement between DSHS and Disability Rights Washington will help increase capacity so people with mental illness awaiting competency evaluations and restoration services in jails throughout the state can get the help they need in a timely matter and in an appropriate setting. The agreement not only improves wait times for class members to receive competency evaluations and restoration services, it also increases services and programs for crisis triage, diversion supports, education and training as well as workforce development.

For more information about the Trueblood case, please visit the DSHS website or the Disability Rights Washington’s Trueblood site.

###

 

DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.