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Washington's Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender Law: Program Costs and Developments

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David Lovell, Jim Mayfield - March 2007

In 1999, legislation was passed to better identify and provide additional mental health treatment for mentally ill offenders who were released from prison, who pose a threat to public safety, and agree to participate in the program. A “Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender” (DMIO) is defined by the legislation as a person with a mental disorder who has been determined to be dangerous to self or others.

As part of its legislative mandate, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has published a series of reports that evaluate the DMIO program. A 2005 report demonstrated that the DMIO program significantly reduced recidivism after 1 1/2 years, and the 2007 follow-up report found that reductions in recidivism were sustained at the 2 1/2 year mark. The benefit-cost analysis in that report indicated that the reductions in DMIO recidivism generated financial benefits to taxpayers that were more than program costs.

This report examines how DMIO program funds are being used, how services and billings are tracked, changes in mental health funding, interagency collaboration, and how these impact program viability.

Report ID: 07-03-1901
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