Group challenges Washington's mental health law - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Group challenges Washington's mental health law

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The National Alliance on Mental Illness has joined the legal challenge to a new state law that allows some people who are found not guilty by reason of insanity to be moved from state hospitals to prisons.

The new law was signed by Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire on March 31, and immediately challenged in federal court in Spokane.

The alliance contends that the purpose of prisons is to punish, not treat mental illness. It contends the law does not provide any means to stop the state from moving acquitted patients to prison. The law arose from the escape of an Eastern State Hospital patient last year during a field trip to a county fair. The patients was recaptured three days later.

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

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