mental illness

A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

David McSpadden

The Washington state Senate advanced a bill Thursday that would speed up the time it takes to decide whether an inmate is fit to stand trial.

The state is under a court order to improve timeliness in mental health competency evaluations.

A federal judge ruled patients faced unconstitutional wait times -- sometimes weeks or months.

Senator Jeannie Darneille is one of the bill sponsors.

Mentally ill inmates continue to languish in Washington jails despite a recent federal judge’s ruling that the practice is unconstitutional.

It’s been nearly two years since Joel Reuter fired a pistol from his condo balcony and was shot to death by Seattle police. Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee signed “Joel’s Law.”

Mentally ill inmates in Washington state often must wait weeks, or even months in jail for evaluations to see if they’re competent to stand trial.