SEATTLE (AP) – Lawyers for a group of mentally ill patients have settled a federal lawsuit with the agency that runs Washington state’s two psychiatric hospitals after improvements were implemented to allow the patients to enjoy more freedom.
Patients who were hospitalized after being found not guilty by reason of insanity lost many freedoms after a patient walked away from one of the facilities in 2009. The state legislature passed laws that cracked down on these patients.
Spokane lawyer Andrew Biviano and Disability Rights Washington sued the state in 2014, arguing the restrictions violated the patients’ constitutional rights.
The state began implementing changes and on Thursday, a federal judge dismissed the case.
Under the settlement, NGRI patients will have more access to hospital grounds and can go on staff-escorted trips if they’ve been cleared by a clinician.