Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, introduced his list of surprising facts about mentally ill criminals at Western State Hospital when he reported last week that 13 percent come from Pierce County, but 41 percent are released into Pierce County.
Now he has learned that Isaac Zamora, who pleaded guilty to four murders and pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to two others – all committed on Sept. 6, 2008 – has been walled off inside the most secure wing of the hospital, requiring other patients to be moved, and has two around-the-clock guards from the Department of Corrections. Figuring the annual cost to taxpayers of two DOC officers and a Department of Social and Health Services employee at three eight-hour shifts per 24-hour period, plus the standard per-patient cost of $180,000 each year, Carrell has dubbed Zamora the “million-dollar man.”
“This case clearly illustrates why we need ‘guilty and mentally ill.’ DSHS is going through the process with the Skagit County Superior Court to have Zamora moved to DOC. In the meantime, DSHS believes the situation is untenable and extreme steps are warranted,” Carrell said.
Carrell’s ‘guilty and mentally ill’ bill, Senate Bill 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 a limited period – 90 days, in contrast to the indefinite period Zamora could be at Western State – before being transferred to DOC to complete his or her sentence in prison.
“The governor supports this idea; her bill differs in that the offender is sent directly to prison for stabilization. I think it is critical that we pass something either way this session.”Print This Post