EVERETT, Wash. — A Washington state county sheriff’s department says it will now use videoconferencing to do mental competency evaluations at the jail.

The Daily Herald reports that the Snohomish County jail in Everett is the flagship site for the new program, which is being tested at three other jails in the state.

The state’s Office of Forensic Mental Health Services created the new program to reduce wait times for cases where it’s unclear if detainees are mentally sound enough to defend themselves.

Officials say it could especially help those with significant mental illness who get arrested for misdemeanors.

Sheriff Ty Trenary said they hope that inmates can get into treatment and connected with resources.

The state has been long been criticized for its wait times for such evaluations.


Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com