The state Department of Social and Health Services released a four-page report Wednesday acknowledging that "insufficient" protocols enabled a mentally ill patient who referred to himself as the "son of Satan" to escape from Western State Hospital last week.
The report was prepared at the request of DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus after Jonathan Wilson, 26, walked away from the Lakewood facility Friday morning. He was found the following day at a Tacoma park and is being held at Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.
Unclear policies and a faulty door lock contributed to the escape and to a long delay in reporting Wilson’s disappearance to police.
After Wilson’s escape, some were critical of DSHS for describing him as a low-risk patient to Lakewood police while the state Department of Corrections sent out an alert saying Wilson is paranoid, delusional and dangerous.
The apparent conflict stems from a difference in how the two agencies assess patients.
Western State gauges the patient’s current clinical mental health status and how he or she is complying with treatment. DOC looks at the patient’s criminal history and other risk behaviors.
DSHS says that to improve matters, it now will provide police with all information after an escape of civil patients who are under DOC supervision or at the hospital under a court order stating they are dangerous to themselves or others.
“We need to give a little more with the idea that law enforcement is the best to make their own evaluation of what their own response should be,” said DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley.
Wilson was able to slip away unnoticed for up to 10 minutes because he left through a gymnasium door with a broken lock, according to the report.
DSHS plans to fix the automatic lock and ask employees to periodically check door locks throughout the facility.