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Legislators: Send committed patients to prison

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
March 11, 2010 4:03 pm

Legislators have agreed to create a process to remove some of the most dangerous patients from state hospitals where concerns have been raised about security.

A provision in a bill that won final legislative approval today would allow the secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services to transfer to prison a patient committed to a state hospital for mental illness. The temporary authority expires in 2015.

The bill goes to the governor, whom legislators worked with in writing the provision, said Sen. Mike Carrell.

Carrell has complained about the cost to Western State Hospital of housing offenders like Isaac Zamora. Zamora was committed to the Lakewood hospital after his September 2008 shooting spree that killed six people, including a Skagit County sheriff’s deputy, and Carrell says he should be in prison to keep him from harming staff or patients or escaping.

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