The City of Spokane participates in the Mental Health Court, a combined specialty court administered by the Spokane County District Court. The Mental Health Court was established as part of a funding initiative approved by Spokane County voters to improve the availability of mental health resources and enhance coordination among mental health service providers in the community. As part of that initiative the Mental Health Court is designed to address the therapeutic needs of those who suffer from mental illness and whose mental illness is a significant factor in the commission of non-felony crimes.
A great many individuals with mental illness are charged with relatively minor offenses. For most, the underlying issue is their need for basic services and mental health treatment. Many of these individuals are disconnected from community support services and are either overlooked or intimidated by the mental health system. Without available services in the community, many of these individuals continue behaviors that lead to arrest and incarceration.
In many cases, incarcerating the mentally ill results in unproductive jail stays during which the individual receives no treatment for the illness most directly related to the behavior. For mentally ill persons subject to arrest, booking and incarceration, an encounter with the criminal justice system can be profoundly traumatic and have consequences that impact their later access to housing and mental health services, the very support services that prevent new offenses from being committed. Repeated incarcerations of this population is commonplace, costly to the taxpayers and, in many cases, does little to improve public safety by preventing future arrests of these individuals.
The Spokane City Prosecutor's Office forms part of the Mental Health Court team. This team, operating in a manner consistent with public safety, acts to identify defendants with documented mental illness and place appropriate individuals from this group on a therapeutic track of supervision under a court-ordered treatment plan. These treatment plans incorporate targeted mental health services and a coordinated plan of community intervention designed to address the specific needs of each individual.
Office of the City Prosecuting Attorney
909 West Mallon Avenue
Spokane, Washington 99201
Prosecutor's Office hours:
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.