Diversion from Legal Competency Services
Behavioral Health and Recovery Division
All individuals charged with a crime have the constitutional right to understand the nature of the charges against them and assist in their defense (e.g. legally competence).
If a court believes a mental health issue may prevent a person from aiding in their defense, the court puts the criminal case on hold (per RCW 10.77) while an evaluation is completed to determine that individual’s legal competence to proceed with the criminal court case.
If the individual is found not competent, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is required to provide them with competency restoration services in a timely fashion, after which point the criminal case may proceed. The majority of competency restoration services are provided in the forensic units of Western State Hospital, or at facilities in Yakima or Maple Lane in Centralia.
Watch a video on Legal Competency and Diversion for Behavioral Health Providers from Washington State’s Department of Social and Human Services. (Also embedded at the bottom of the page.)
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