People with disabilities lost, forgotten in jail
When people who experience mental illness find themselves in Washington’s jails, they may also find themselves waiting -- without a conviction and without mental health care -- as days turn to weeks or months.
DRW’s recently-released report, Lost and Forgotten, chronicles the experiences of individuals with mental illness or traumatic brain injury who wait in county jails for an evaluation to see whether or not one is competent to stand trial.
Individuals may be held for low-level infractions, like trespassing or vagrancy, often because mental health services were unavailable,” said DRW attorney Emily Cooper.
"We are turning these individuals into prisoners when they should be patients," Cooper said.