Trueblood Phase 2 implementation begins in King County
DSHS Office of Communications
OLYMPIA — Washington state has now marked two years of progress in implementing a federal judge’s orders stemming from the Trueblood Contempt Settlement.
The state agencies tasked with implementing the orders — the Department of Social and Health Services, the Health Care Authority and the Criminal Justice Training Commission — are now setting their collective sights on applying the best practices learned during Phase 1 as Trueblood-required programs are implemented in King County, the focus of Phase 2, which began July 1.
The Trueblood vs. DSHS lawsuit challenges unconstitutional delays in competency evaluations and restoration services. The state has been ordered to provide court-ordered competency evaluations within 14 days and competency restoration services within seven days.
Several Trueblood-required programs stood up in Phase 1 have helped the state inch closer to full compliance with the court.
Forensic navigators, who conduct outreach and education efforts with partners at jails, courts, law enforcement agencies and community‐based partners, help clients adhere to their release conditions while also connecting them with support services. Forensic navigators were assigned 531 clients across 10 counties throughout Phase 1.
Services with the Forensic Navigator Program begin in King County on Jan. 1, 2022.
“I’m so proud of all the collaboration and hard work our agencies put into building relationships with the many communities across the state throughout Phase 1,” said acting DSHS Secretary Don Clintsman. “Transforming care for people who intersect with the criminal court system in our state is something that benefits the overall health and the safety of our region. The benchmarks we achieved in Phase 1 will further empower us as we push forward in Phase 2 in King County.”
The state also added additional beds for patients in an effort to cut wait times, opening 40 beds at Western State Hospital in Lakewood and 50 additional beds at Eastern State Hospital outside Spokane. Phase 2 will also include infrastructure for more beds; HCA is working with the Department of Commerce to create two 16-bed crisis facilities in King County.
The Health Care Authority’s Forensic Housing Recovery through Peer Services, and Forensic Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness programs, also known as FHARPS and FPATH, also proved successful in serving clients in Phase 1. FHARPS enrolled 319 people in the program and housed or sheltered 267 more since it began offering services in March 2020, while FPATH received referrals from 752 clients to the program during the same timeframe.
“I commend the partnerships and progress made over the last two years to transform the way our behavioral health system intersects with the criminal court system,” said Dr. Keri Waterland, director of the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery at HCA. “Our priority is to ensure people get the support and care they need when they need it.”
The first phase of the Trueblood project included Pierce, Spokane, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Ferry, Stevens, Lincoln, Adams and Pend Oreille counties.
For a complete list of achievements of the first year of implementation, visit the Trueblood page.