In 2014, people found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) and sent to the state psychiatric hospitals for treatment brought a lawsuit against the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The case is called Ross v. Inslee, No. CV-14-00130-TOR (E.D. Wash., 2014).
The named plaintiffs are six individual NGRI patients at Western State Hospital and Eastern State Hospital as well as Disability Rights Washington. The Complaint alleged, in part, that patients’ rights were being systematically violated due to inadequate treatment and release planning, and overly punitive and restrictive treatment that failed to follow clinical standards and recommendations.
This lawsuit resulted in a Settlement Agreement [PDF] between the plaintiffs and DSHS that calls for changes in the treatment and release of NGRI patients.
Disability Rights Washington has withdrawn from this case, but it is still active. People interested in contacting counsel can contact Andrew Biviano.
The Megaphone Effect: Reclaiming Recovery
- First Amended Complaint [PDF]
- Order Granting Stay [PDF]
- Settlement Agreement [PDF]
- Order Approving Settlement [PDF]
- Ross Timeline [PDF]
- Patient Rights Handout [PDF]
Washington Criminal Defense Magazine: Patients Not Prisoners
The Inlander: Patients and Prisoners
The Seattle Times: Lawmakers Consider Ways to Improve Mental-Health Services
The Inlander: Patients at Eastern and Western State Hospitals File Civil Rights Lawsuit
The Groundswell Report: Forensic Mental Health Consultant Review Final Report, Prepared for the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services in response to contract # 1334-91698
Press release: Patient lawsuit demands treatment, not punishment