71.24.430  <<  71.24.450 >>   71.24.455

Offenders with mental illnessesFindings and intent.

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 5432-S2.SL) ***
(1) Many acute and chronically mentally ill offenders are delayed in their release from Washington correctional facilities due to their inability to access reasonable treatment and living accommodations prior to the maximum expiration of their sentences. Often the offender reaches the end of his or her sentence and is released without any follow-up care, funds, or housing. These delays are costly to the state, often lead to psychiatric relapse, and result in unnecessary risk to the public.
These offenders rarely possess the skills or emotional stability to maintain employment or even complete applications to receive entitlement funding. Nationwide only five percent of diagnosed schizophrenics are able to maintain part-time or full-time employment. Housing and appropriate treatment are difficult to obtain.
This lack of resources, funding, treatment, and housing creates additional stress for the mentally ill offender, impairing self-control and judgment. When the mental illness is instrumental in the offender's patterns of crime, such stresses may lead to a worsening of his or her illness, reoffending, and a threat to public safety.
(2) It is the intent of the legislature to create a pilot program to provide for postrelease mental health care and housing for a select group of mentally ill offenders entering community living, in order to reduce incarceration costs, increase public safety, and enhance the offender's quality of life.


Severability1997 c 342: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1997 c 342 § 6.]
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