Judge orders state to fix mental health facility

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SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the partial shutdown of a new treatment facility for mentally ill defendants in Yakima after learning that the renovated jail poses a safety risk.

Lawyers for the defendants had sought a restraining order to stop the Department of Social and Health Services from sending mentally ill defendants to the Yakima Residential Treatment Facility to have their competency restored. They argued that a former jail was not an appropriate setting for treating the mentally ill, and said the facility hadn’t been properly renovated to ensure that patients would not harm themselves or others.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman agreed in part and on Friday. She granted a modified restraining order against the state, saying the defendants were at risk of irreparable harm by staying in the upper floor of the newly opened center.