King County jails seeking to be reimbursed for housing inmates waiting for mental health treatment

Nov 30, 2022, 6:43 AM | Updated: 7:16 am
(Photo from KIRO 7)
(Photo from KIRO 7)

King County is asking to be reimbursed by the state for housing inmate Alexander Jay, who has been at King County Jail waiting for court-ordered mental health treatment for nearly eight months.

Jay is accused of attacking and throwing a nurse down the steps of a light rail station in Seattle in March.

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According to a federal ruling, Jay was supposed to get treatment at a Department of Social and Health Services mental health facility months ago.

The state has already been ordered to pay over $50,000 because Jay’s rights are being violated.

Dozens in Washington could be paid thousands waiting in jail for treatment

Now, in a motion filed Tuesday, King County is asking the state DSHS to pay $219.90 for every day past May 9, the date Jay was supposed to be transported.

It is also asking the state to pay out in six other criminal cases.

The daily rate to house an inmate is $219.90, based on the county’s contract with the city of Seattle.

“Each day we wait for the state to meet its obligation is another day behavioral health needs go unmet. That must change,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a statement. “It’s my hope that this action will help move the state to meet its legal obligations.”

According to a federal judge’s ruling in what’s called the Trueblood decision, once DSHS receives a court order finding someone is incompetent to stand trial, it’s supposed to admit that person in a week.

But that has not been happening.

“We’re approaching (a) seven- or eight-month wait for people to get into treatment,” Rebecca Vasquez, a senior deputy prosecutor with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, told KIRO 7′s Linzi Sheldon. “It’s the longest I’ve ever seen it.”

A date for a hearing on the county’s motion has not been set at this time.

Follow this link to read additional stories from KIRO

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King County jails seeking to be reimbursed for housing inmates waiting for mental health treatment