Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Washington state continues to fail

Anthony Williams refused to take medication for his paranoid schizophrenia. He had been evaluated by mental health workers at least three times in the last year, but Williams wasn’t deemed an imminent risk to himself or others, so wasn’t ordered to treatment.

So, why do county designated mental health professionals insist that someone be "imminently" dangerous when the word "imminent" doesn't even appear in the Washington standard? Forty-one other states let families directly petition a court to get treatment for a loved one in crisis. Why does Washington State require county designated mental health professionals to be the “middle man” in their process?

In the past Williams had threatened to kill a community corrections officer and had told a psychiatric social worked that “God told him to "shoot bad people" and that he carried a knife to protect himself from both God and the devil.” But Williams wasn’t deemed dangerous enough for treatment.

In September Williams threatened the landlord at his apartment. Police said he was a “a threat to the safety of officers and those around him," and found an 8-inch butcher knife in his sweat-shirt pocket. Williams was found guilty of harassment, but wasn’t deemed dangerous enough to be committed into treatment.

Williams was considered high risk by police, the Department of Corrections and community health staff, and the DOC had logged 50 contacts with him in the past six months.
Yet- King County mental health workers said Williams still didn’t meet the threshold to be committed to treatment.

On New Year’s Eve, Williams fatally stabbed 31- year-old Shannon Harps outside her house. Now will Williams get treatment?

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