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DRW Trueblood Advocacy: Navigating the Legislature

Calling all mental health advocates: expand your advocacy skills and learn how the Trueblood settlement may affect you! Learn how to turn your recovery story into a legislative story, the legislative process, cultural tips, and general dos and don’ts of working with elected officials.

Why should you come?
* Free Registration
* Accommodations
* Free Refreshments throughout
* Free Lunch
* Stipends
* Safe space to share and learn


When: March 12th 2019

Session 1: 10am- 1:00pm

Lunch 1-1:30pm

Session 2: 1:30-4:30pm
(*sessions 1& 2 provide the same info)

Where: TACID 6315 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466



Questions or Accommodations?
Darya Farivar
Community and Legislative Liaison

What is Trueblood?
Trueblood is a class action lawsuit which Disability Rights Washington (DRW) brought against the Washington State Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) in 2014. The class members of this case are waiting weeks to months in jail for basic mental health services. These services are required to happen prior to trial. In 2015 the court decided that people should not wait longer than 14 days for a competency evaluation, and 7 days for restoration services. After a little over a year, the state began paying fines for not complying with the courts timelines. Currently, the state is not in compliance and has paid $64 million in fines. Because of the magnitude of issues the parties are working together so that they have a settlement by August 10th.

What are the mental health services?
If there is concern that the person doesn’t understand the situation they are in these services are initiated. First, they receive a competency evaluation, this determines if the person understands what trial is, and how to work with their attorney. If they don’t understand, they are found incompetent and referred for restoration. Next, they receive restoration services at a state hospital. Here they receive some treatment, and learn about trial until they are reevaluated and found competent. If they are found incompetent again the process of restoration continues or their case may be dismissed.

Who are class members?
Class members have a serious mental illness, they may also have a substance use disorder, are arrested for crimes related to their serious mental illness, and wait weeks or months for a competency evaluation or restoration services. Often times they spend much longer waiting for these services than they would if they were convicted of the crime.

Let’s connect the dots…
People are entering the criminal justice system because they cannot get adequate mental health services. When they can’t access services, they get worse and worse until they go into crisis. When they go into crisis they may commit crimes which are symptoms of their untreated mental illness. Then law enforcement picks them up, they have little to no option but to take them to jail. Because there are so many people entering the system, they wait weeks to months in jail before being sentenced. During that time, people are kept in solitary confinement with little or no mental health treatment. In many cases, their mental health is permanently impaired because of this traumatic experience.

Learn more about Trueblood here:

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