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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Lakewood aims to block release of dangerous psychiatric patients

Associated Press

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The city that houses Western State Hospital, Washington’s main psychiatric facility, is fighting to keep patients from being released into its boundaries.

The News Tribune reported Lakewood on Monday approved a moratorium on city business licenses for new adult family homes and authorized a lawsuit against the state to end what it calls the unsafe release of people with histories of violence or sexual offenses into its city.

City officials contend state law requires those patients to be served at more secure treatment centers, preferably in non-residential neighborhoods.

Many on Lakewood’s City Council also expressed distrust of hospital officials, saying they are motivated enough to release dangerous people from Western State that safety worries won’t stop them.

Hospital officials argue people discharged from Western State with criminal pasts often have low risk to re-offend under proper supervision.