Bills introduced by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, concerning the release of criminally insane people and the release of children’s personal information have met with approval by the state House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 5105 will prevent the state’s two psychiatric hospitals from allowing the conditional release of a patient committed as criminally insane unless that person is released back into the county which ordered the commitment, with some exceptions. The bill passed 90-6 and now goes to the governor’s desk.
“The fact is that more than 40 percent of the individuals who were found not guilty of a violent crime by reason of insanity and committed to Eastern or Western State Hospital are released into Pierce County,” Carrell said. “However, fewer than 20 percent of those individuals came from Pierce County to begin with.”
Carrell’s measure expands on the “fair share” provision in the prison and supervision reform law, created in 2007 through another of his bills, which limits the number of felons the state releases into Pierce County. Carrell says it was last year that he discovered the problems regarding the conditional release of mentally-ill individuals who have committed violent acts but were found not guilty by reason of insanity.
“This bill will help end Pierce County’s tenure of being a dumping ground for all types of people with a history of violent behavior,” Carrell said.
Senate Bill 5098 will exempt children’s personal information possessed by an agency or community-based program, including early learning or child care services, from public inspection and copying under the Public Records Act. Carrell proposed this bill – which was amended by the House and passed unanimously – was in response to an incident in Fircrest where there was a fight over the custody of a minor. One of the individuals had attempted to locate the child at a summer outdoor sports program.
“When I first proposed the public records-exemption bill, it seemed like a good common-sense solution,” Carrell said. “It has since morphed into a larger bill that addresses the release of a minor’s personal information – including his or her whereabouts – and will make our kids safer when they’re participating in community events and programs.”
SB 5098 will now come back to the Senate for concurrence.