On April 7, 2021, Disability Rights Washington (DRW); the ACLU of Washington; Munger, Tolles & Olson; and MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless sued the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) on behalf of a group of people who are currently and formerly incarcerated. Several parties, including media entities and an individual, had requested information through the Washington Public Records Act about people whom DOC has identified as transgender, non-binary, and intersex. This emergency lawsuit was necessary to protect the safety and privacy of people identified by DOC as transgender, non-binary, and intersex.
In 2021, Disability Rights Washington and Yakima County agreed to extend the monitoring period of the settlement agreement for an additional year. Yakima County has made significant changes, and additional work is planned to further improve conditions for people with disabilities.
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.