Lawsuit: Pierce County mistreating mentally in in jails

Washington state teacher settles discrimination suit

The American Civil Liberties Union says in a federal lawsuit that Pierce County and the sheriff’s office is violating the rights of mentally ill people held in its jail by subjecting them to illegal restraints and isolation.

Holding mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement without medications or access to treatment causes additional psychological harm and the likelihood the offender will be reincarcerated, according to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on behalf of two mentally ill men.

Libby Catalinich, a spokeswoman for Pierce County, said she couldn’t comment about the litigation but the county had made “significant investments” in the behavioral health needs of the community – including at the jail.