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Published on Friday, October 17, 2014

Sex Offender Housing Work Group Wrapping-up Interim Report

After the 2014 session, Legislators issued a letter to the Sex Offender Policy Board (SOPB) asking them to review policies relating to the release and housing of sex offenders in communities. The SOPB created a work group to review the issues including the Department of Corrections (DOC) housing voucher program, general guidelines and restrictions on placement of sex offenders, and the impact of city and county ordinances on sex offender housing.

We would like to recognize and thank Puyallup City Councilmember Julie Door for serving as the cities’ representative on this work group. We also appreciate the assistance of Puyallup Assistant City Attorney Steve Kirkelie.

The work group is now reviewing a draft report that includes the following recommendations:

  • Clarify and train on Offender WATCH (an information research tool).
  • DOC increase community notification – in addition to providing notification upon the release of a sex offender, DOC should notify law enforcement of the release of offenders who have registration responsibilities.
  • Increased standardization of notification to law enforcement and shared information with city, county, and municipal officials.
  • Process and laws tied to housing vouchers be shared with multiple stakeholders.
  • Clarify and train DOC Community Corrections staff on offender release plans, specifically addressing real restrictions versus implied or personal concerns.

Once the final report is available, AWC will share it with cities. At this time it doesn’t appear that the report will result in specific legislation, but instead will encourage better communication and cooperation practices between DOC and local jurisdictions.

Categories: Law & justice