DSHS announces program with SCORE Jail to provide treatment options for people waiting for competency services

SCORE Jail is owned by the cities of Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila.

Monday, October 23, 2023
DSHS Office of Communications
Tyler Hemstreet
tyler.hemstreet@dshs.wa.gov
(564) 201–0027

OLYMPIA, WA — The Department of Social and Health Services and South Correctional Entity, also known as SCORE Jail, are working together to offer enhanced behavioral health services to people incarcerated at the facility.

The new program, created after the passage of Senate Bill 5440 earlier this year, will use the services of DSHS clinical intervention specialists and DSHS clinicians working with SCORE’s contracted medical and behavioral health staff to assess and offer additional treatment options. Those options could include motivational interviewing to help with medication compliance, group and individualized therapy, and specialized programming to help stabilize this population.

These services will be offered to Trueblood class members; those charged with a crime, awaiting competency services, and who are currently incarcerated in a jail.

The potential for positive impact on people identified as class members is significant, said Devon Schrum, SCORE’s executive director.

“Jail can be very disruptive, especially for people with mental and substance use disorders,” Schrum said. “Having additional resources to help manage and/or stabilize this fragile population not only benefits people receiving treatment but contributes overall to a safer jail and the communities receiving people upon release from jail.”

This pilot seeks to build a framework in which class members in confinement continue to receive appropriate treatment while incarcerated, with the goal of diverting stabilized class members to the most appropriate pathways. Examples include going from inpatient to outpatient restoration, shorter hospital stays for inpatient restoration, and the ability to have a supplemental competency evaluation in which restoration is no longer needed.

This collaboration helps ensure that class members receive treatment sooner, preventing a significant decline in mental health, Schrum said.

This work will also seek to treat and stabilize those people experiencing a mental health crisis either upon booking or throughout their stay. SCORE officials hope this collaboration serves as a model for other benefit coordination programs creating an opportunity to reduce recidivism through treatment, education, and community support.

Clinical intervention specialists will help ensure time spent in jail contributes to the process of recovery. They will provide technical assistance to SCORE and preserve medication access, so defendants don’t destabilize outside of treatment.

“This initiative represents a significant step forward in our commitment to providing appropriate care for people within the criminal justice system, ensuring their well-being, and upholding legal standards,” said Dr. Thomas Kinlen, director of the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services.

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