Fifty-one percent of individuals charged with a crime who are found not guilty by reason of insanity in Washington come from King County, yet only 35 percent of them are released back to King County when treatment is finished. Those figures are among a number of intriguing statistics disclosed Thursday by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood.
“I think the people of Pierce County would find it not at all surprising that our county contributes only 13 percent of the total population of our state’s mental health facilities, yet 41 percent are released onto our streets,” Carrell said. “It’s yet another example of how Pierce County has long been the dumping ground for not only sane criminals, but as we’ve just learned, those found not guilty by reason of insanity as well.”Carrell added the top three crimes for which individuals were found not guilty by reason of insanity are murder, arson and assault. In Western State Hospital, which is in Carrell’s district, and Eastern State Hospital outside Spokane, 26 and 28 percent of the population respectively are committed in connection with murder or attempted-murder charges.
“My bill to create a new alternative to a ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ finding (‘guilty and mentally ill,’ SB 6310) would give a defendant the same sentence that any other defendant convicted of the same crime would receive, only the individual would be committed to a secure mental health facility for 90 days before being transferred to DOC to complete his or her sentence in prison,” Carrell said. “I’ve spoken with the governor about this idea, and she has indicated support; I’m looking forward to working with her and other legislators to make it happen.
“The prison and supervision reform bill that became law in 2007 has helped reduce the flow of the ‘felon faucet’ into Pierce County,” Carrell added. “With this new data, it’s time we take a look at shutting off the flow of individuals charged with these heinous crimes but found not guilty by reason of insanity as well.”Print This Post