SB 5444 
What will it do?
A. Creates Forensic Navigator position
- Help class members access diversion programs and outpatient restoration
- Provides a “warm handoff” to community providers and support during outpatient restoration.
B. Expands the criminal charges eligible for diversion to treatment instead of arrest
- Local law enforcement and Prosecuting Attorney Office will develop guidelines on which specific charges are eligible, and will include a process for clearing outstanding warrants in order to facilitate diversion.
- There will be an opportunity for the disability community and public defenders to comment on these guidelines before it is adopted.
C. Provides the option of outpatient competency restoration
- The court can consider a person’s background and other information and decide if they are appropriate for outpatient restoration. There will be certain conditions for the person to engage in outpatient restoration
D. Allows criminal court to dismiss more misdemeanor cases instead of sending them to restoration
- Prosecutor may object to dismissal where there is a compelling State interest. Restoration and regular proceeding would follow.
- These defendants can be referred for potential civil commitment instead of prosecution.
- These defendants would be eligible for the additional services created by the Trueblood Settlement Agreement.
Why do we need this?
- Trueblood Class Members have languished in jail waiting for competency restoration.
- Instead of prosecuting class members accused of misdemeanors, cases should be diverted to treatment.
- When people are experiencing symptoms of mental illness they need treatment and support, not jail.
Trueblood Advocacy Day
On Friday, April 5th, DRW held a Trueblood Advocacy Day in Olympia. We had over 55 attendees and 6 meetings with legislators, all in support of the Trueblood bill, SB 5444 , and its creation of forensic navigators. The day included presentations on the settlement and bill with DRW staff and guest speakers, including Representative Laurie Jinkins, one of SB 5444’s biggest supporters.
Trueblood class member, Josh Stuller, shared his experience with everyone. Josh has worked with us throughout the bill process, sharing his story and testifying at bill hearings. This week, the Seattle Times released an article  about Josh and the budget process for the bill.
Just a few days after Advocacy Day, SB 5444 passed the House Committee on Appropriations on April 8th in a unanimous vote.