Washington’s first residential treatment facility for mentally ill defendants opens

The treatment center will relocate 16 patients at Western State Hospital who are in beds for mentally ill inmates sitting in prisons across the state.

CENTRALIA, Wash. – Governor Jay Inslee and DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses were among state officials who opened the Civic Center for Behavioral Health in Maple Lane on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Centralia.

This is the state’s first Treatment Center placed in a community setting to treat people who have been charged but have their convictions reduced after being found incompetent to stand trial. Instead of being released, this population was ordered by a judge to undergo what is known as civil commitment until it is deemed safe to return to the community.

Prior to this facility, civilly committed patients were required to stay in state-run psychiatric hospitals, such as the sprawling Western State Hospital in Steilacoom. Inslee says the center at Maple Lane is suitable for State goals set out in 2018 about decentralizing these services away from large hospital facilities and treating people in their communities instead.

Governor Inslee said at the ceremony: “I couldn’t be more excited about what this represents, this is one of the first steps in transforming the way we provide mental health for families and its community.

The center will operate around the clock for 16 people at a time. The first patients will be transferred from Western State Hospital next month.

One of the goals in opening the facility was to help reduce current crisisbrought to light by KING 5 Investigation “Mental illness, waiting in jail,” about a record number of mentally ill inmates waiting in prisons across the state to get a bed at Western or Eastern State Hospital. These are defendants who do not understand their crimes and need treatment to regain their ability to stand trial.

About 870 people are waiting for capacity services without treatment or ability to continue in the criminal justice system. Some inmates are waiting for up to 10 months or longer, which violates state law, superior court orders, and federal law.

“This (new treatment center) will solve that because it will allow for more beds for people who need rehabilitation. So it’s not just for the civilian side, not just for our neighbors in trouble, but it also eases the pressure on those on the (criminal) side of that situation.

The Civic Behavioral Health Center cost $20.2 million and includes a host of state-of-the-art features including solar power, natural daylight throughout, native landscaping that requires no irrigation and enclosed outdoor space.

In addition to this facility, DSHS is working to add more new beds to meet growing demand:

  • 58 new beds at Western State Hospital, opening in 2023
  • 30 additional beds on the Maple Lane campus for those not guilty of insanity, will open in 2023
  • 48 beds in Clark County near Vancouver scheduled to open in 2024

“It is our deep value to provide people-centred care that recognizes the humanity of all our patients and we will use this approach in all aspects. patient care edge,” DSHS Sec. meneses.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/investigations/washington-first-residential-treatment-facility-mentally-ill-defendants/281-be460f3d-581e-40fd-85c5-7ea29b860a21 Washington’s first residential treatment facility for mentally ill defendants opens

Edmund DeMarche

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