MultCo judge holds Oregon State Hospital in contempt

Multnomah County

State hospital faces daily fines until 2 inmates accepted

The Oregon State Hospital in Salem (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A judge in Multnomah County is holding the Oregon State Hospital in Salem in contempt of court for not accepting a pair of patients waiting in jail fast enough.

Jarod Bowman was sent there for attacking a woman and forcing her into the trunk of his car, and Joshawn Douglas-Simpson was sent there for sex abuse.

The Oregon State Hospital treats the most severe mental health patients in the state. The system it’s part of is bursting at the seams even though, overall, the state is spending $3 billion on behavioral health.

A KOIN 6 News investigation earlier in 2021 revealed the mental hospital is overwhelmed by the number of patients sent there to see if they’re fit to stand trial compared to patients not accused of any crimes.

The pandemic made a bad situation worse.

“We are really in an untenable position with our state hospital in which we have almost no capacity right now to admit people under civil commit,” said OHA Behavioral Health Director Steve Allen, “which puts tremendous pressure on the rest of the system.”

The state hospital’s argument in response to this lawsuit is that it’s impossible to take in the 2 inmates immediately. The hospital now faces daily fines until the men are accepted.

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