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Washington DSHS Has Been Sued By A Judge For Failing To Comply With A Permanent Injunction

Washington DSHS Has Been Sued By A Judge For Failing To Comply With A Permanent Injunction (Photo: Washington State Department Of Social and Health Services)

Washington DSHS was sanctioned by a federal judge for violating a permanent injunction.

Western State Hospital, the hospital where the Washington DSHS “neglected” the mental needs of patients. (Photo: KOMO News)

Washington DSHS Fined By Federal Judge

The Washington Department of Social and Health Care, or DSHS, was fined more than $100 million by a federal judge for violating a permanent order requiring them to promptly provide psychiatric care to mentally ill inmates who have not yet been found guilty of a crime. In Washington, a person who has been arrested and is thought to have a mental illness that renders them unable to stand trial may be held in custody until the completion of psychiatric assessments.

The 2015 Trueblood v. Washington DSHS ruling, however, determined that Washington DSHS had engaged in unlawful delays in carrying out such examinations, resulting in people being held longer than was necessary. The permanent injunction mandated that the state agency complete said examinations for individuals who were imprisoned within 14 days and for those who were receiving inpatient care within seven days.

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Washington DSHS In Violation Of Constitutional Rights

United States Senior District Judge Marsha J. Pechman stated in her order from July 7 that “more than eight years later, Washington DSHS continues to violate the constitutional rights of the Trueblood Class Members and the Permanent Injunction.

Perchman’s judgment highlighted that the agency eliminated beds at Western State Hospital and converted other wards for “civil conversation” patients whose criminal charges had been dropped, despite Washington DSHS’s claim that they adopted “reasonable measures” to alleviate a persistent bed deficiency.

The court will release the $100 million fine levied on Washington DSHS “targeted at providing services to the harmed Class Members and that Washington DSHS acts with all due speed to treat Class Members humanely, justly, and in accordance with their constitutional rights,” according to the judgment.

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