February 20, 2010

Mental health members reassure Senate commitee that effective steps have been taken in wake of last summer's Eastern State Hospital escape

Mental health members Greg Davis (Eastern State Hospital, Local 782) and Craig Gibelyou (Western State Hospital, Local 793) assured the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee Friday that effective, “old school” steps have been taken to protect the public in the wake of last September’s escape of an Eastern State Hospital criminally insane patient on an outing to the county fair.

The comment came during consideration of a SHB 2717 to restrict such outings in the future.

Davis told senators the risk assessments of patients considered for such outings had been reinstated. Had one been done on escapee Phillip Paul, he probably would have not been allowed to leave the hospital, Davis said.

Paul was captured without incident a few days later.

In the wake of the escape, the union joined with DSHS, DOC and others on a special work group to find out why Paul was let out and how to prevent such incidents in the future.

“We reviewed every single one of our policies and every single one of the recommendations from the union and others have been implemented…,” Davis said.

“We believe we’re back to what I call ‘old school’ and we take a very serious look before anyone leaves our wards, with or without a conditional release.”

The risk assessments procedure “is full re-implemented and the tool is being revised and will do a good job,” Davis said.

No comments: