Pierce County has been awarded a $1.9 million grant to help address the

challenges faced by individuals with behavioral health conditions in the

county’s criminal justice system.

Offcials said the 18-month grant will take effect in March 2018 and fund

mental health professionals, case coordinators, a social worker, and

legal professionals with expertise in prosecutorial diversion of cases

with behavioral health factors. The grant also supports a court resource

center, supportive housing and rental assistance for individuals

transitioning from jail.

The funding comes from a ruling in Trueblood v. Washington State

Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), a federal District

Court class-action lawsuit that ordered the state to take immediate

steps to reduce to seven days the maximum the length of time in jail for

anyone waiting for admission to a hospital for competency services, or

14 days for a fully completed jail-based competency evaluation.

DSHS has been unable to comply with reducing wait times for admission

services to seven days or less, officials said.