OLYMPIA — A bill to improve the long-term health of individuals convicted of crimes where mental health, cognitive issues, or brain injuries are a factor was signed into law Friday. 

Senate Bill 5588, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), makes the mental health sentencing alternative process more efficient by requiring the Department of Corrections to provide a diagnosis for the defendant’s mental illness, rather than a proposed treatment plan in the presentence report. It also allows the court to waive the requirement for DOC and the treatment provider to provide the court with written reports before each progress hearing. 

“We have both an opportunity and an obligation to address the challenges faced by people with mental health concerns,” Nobles said. “This allows us to do just that and ensure this policy is an actual resource those in our justice system can use.”      

The new law will go into effect June 6.