Washington State Plans New Involuntary Treatment Facility in Thurston County


Washington state plans to build an involuntary psychiatric treatment facility at the Maple Lane campus near Grand Mound by 2023.

A contracted healthcare provider would use the 16-bed facility to provide inpatient psychiatric care for people 18 or older who are civilly committed for 90 to 180 days under the state's Involuntary Treatment Act, according to the project website.

The Department of Social and Health Services started designing the facility in 2019 after the legislature approved a plan by Gov. Jay Inslee to create smaller treatment facilities in local communities. A similar 16-bed facility also is planned in Vancouver.

Mental illness is more prevalent in Washington state compared to 45 other states, according to a 2021 report by the non-profit Mental Health America. Meanwhile, access to care is lower in Washington state compared to 15 other states, per the same report.

During the latest legislative session, DSHS received funding to build these facilities as part of an effort to increase capacity for civil patients, per the website. To start construction, the project will need a special use permit from Thurston County.

The proposed facility near Grand Mound would cost about $20 million to build and be located on the northwest portion of the Maple Lane campus, which is owned by the Department of Corrections, according to a site analysis document.

Entrances and exits, which would be accessible via Old Highway 9 SW, would be secured at all times by staff and law enforcement as needed, according to the website.

The facility would provide comprehensive evaluations, medical screenings, psychiatric screenings, risk screenings, treatment and peer support.

The project aims to stabilize people with mental illness and improve patient behavior so they can return to their home or a less-restrictive living arrangement with appropriate support services, according to the website.

The campus previously held a juvenile detention facility that housed about 200 children, but the state legislature closed that facility in 2011, according to a DOC project website. Since then, the DOC has taken control of the campus and renovated existing structures to expand prison capacity and services.

The Thurston County Hearing Examiner is scheduled to hear DSHS's special use permit request at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 25. A hearing examiner is an attorney appointed by the Board of County Commissioners who can either issue formal decisions or make a recommendation to the board after quasi-judicial proceedings, per the county website.

To attend the hearing examiner meeting, the public can use the Zoom link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83107925693 and enter the passcode 602338. Alternatively, the public can call in by dialing 253-215-8782. The Webinar ID is 831 0792 5693 and the passcode is 602338 as well.