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Friends Committee on
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Friends Committee on Washington State Public Policy

Criminal Justice and Mental Health Alert:

PBS Frontline Program  and bill E2SSB 5763 awaits Governorís Signature

May 9, 2005



PBS Frontline is presenting a program on how the mentally ill people end up incarcerated in our prison system: 

  • Nearly ten times as many mentally ill Americans are in prison as in psychiatric hospitals.

  • In Ohio 16% of inmates have been diagnosed with a mental illness (a typical state percentage).

  The New Asylums, a PBS Frontline program will air Tues. May 10, at 10:00 p.m. and examines this problem via the Ohio corrections system. We recommend this program to you to better understand these problems which face our state also. (After the program additional information on the topic and the program can be found at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums. An online version of the program will also be available for your viewing.)


The Omnibus Treatment of Mental and Substance Abuse Disorders Act Of 2005 (E2SSB 5763), which passed the legislature, contains provisions that address these issues. This bill is currently awaiting approval by Governor Gregoire. Among other things, the bill provides an option for counties to establish mental health courts (and expand on the concept of drug courts) to divert people with these problems out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment. 


We ask you to call or e-mail Governor Gregoire to voice your support for her approval of bill SB 5763 The Omnibus Treatment Of Mental And Substance Abuse Disorders Act Of 2005.


You can reach the Governorís Office at:

(360) 902-4111

Fax (360) 753-4110

e-mail: http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/govemail.htm



To contact your FCWPP Lobbyist, Roger Kluck, email [email protected] or call him at 206-856-4444.


How to Contact Your Legislators:

During business hours, you can leave a message for all three of your legislators and the Governor at the toll free hotline (the operators can even tell you who your legislators are!) 1-800-562-6000


Use http://dfind.leg.wa.gov/dfinder.cfm to identify your legislators. Contact information for your senators can then be found at http://www.leg.wa.gov/senate/members/default.htm  , and for representatives is at http://www.leg.wa.gov/house/default.htm.