Close Down Western State

[image description: people walking and gathered in a hall at Western State Psychiatric Hospital in Lakewood, Washington. Pink text over it says “Close Down Western State. #NoModernAsylum. end description]

On December 14th, 2017 Governor Jay Inslee proposed “more than $100 million” more to fund Western State, an abusive psychiatric institution. Western State may lose federal accreditation due to continued abuse of psychiatrically disabled people in it.

The hundred million is meant to make Western State up to (loose) federal standards in order to continue receiving federal funding. This was tried in the last legislative session (an effort we fought) by hiring hundreds of more staff to the institution. It did not work and we do not expect this new effort at “reform” to work.

Instead, we need to invest in home and community based services such as

  • The social safety (e.g. SNAP) which non-disabled people also rely on
  • Supported-employment
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Housing vouchers
  • Quality, low-cost or free mental health services
  • In-home care providers
  • Transition services for youth with disabilities

Many advocates of the proposal believe it will solve overcrowding. It will not, as explained in our latest post Institutions Will Not Solve Overcrowding. 

Many advocates of the proposal believe that the reduction of psychiatric beds since the late 1950s led to a mental health, criminal justice, and housing crisis and that modern asylums will solve these crises. But this is a myth.

Deinstitutionalization did not lead to a housing crisis for people with psychiatric disabilities. Austerity (severe budget cuts to the social safety net) caused a housing crisis for disabled and non-disabled people. Deinstitutionalization did not cause police to mass-arrest people with psychiatric disabilities. The criminalization of people with psychiatric disabilities caused this.

(See: Why prisons are not “The New Asylums”  by Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe and Deinstitutionalization an Appraisal of Reform by David Mechanic & David A. Rochefort for more.)

This page will hold all our public campaign material, further reading, explain how to get involved in this campaign, and serve as a timeline for the campaign.