In December 2018, Disability Rights Washington’s AVID Program finalized a settlement agreement with Yakima County to improve the conditions for individuals with mental illness and other cognitive disabilities housed at Yakima County Jail. The parties worked under a structured negotiation agreement to resolve the legal claims in a less adversarial and costly manner.
In April 2018, Disability Rights Washington and co-counsel Paukert and Troppmann filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the Department of Corrections’ practice of housing inmates with mental health needs in overly restrictive custodial settings at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Disability Rights Washington is serving as the organizational plaintiff in this case, which is ongoing.
This class action litigation was brought by Disability Rights Washington and co-counsel Carney Gillespie Isitt PLLP in 2017, on behalf of approximately 30 Special Commitment Center (SCC) residents with serious mental illness, developmental and intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other cognitive conditions that make it difficult for them to participate in, and benefit from, the specialized sex offender treatment program offered at the facility. The lawsuit also challenged the harsh, often punitive conditions in which many of these residents were housed.