Public Safety

Public Safety

The Community Protection Act of 1990 established the Special Commitment Center (SCC) program to protect public safety. The SCC has stringent safety and security measures in place at its total confinement facility and secure community facilities.

SCC Institution Public Safety and Security

The SCC's total confinement facility is located on McNeil Island, a 20-minute ride from the Steilacoom ferry dock. Once reaching the Island, individuals are transported to the facility by bus. Measures taken to ensure public safety are:

  • A security system that provides a constant means of surveillance for all SCC units and  areas within its perimeter.
  • Intensive training designed to provide staff with the means to protect others and themselves and to deal with dangerous/difficult residents.
  • A 100-plus member security team whose members provide around the clock security for the facility. These team members receive training through instructors that are certified instructors by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

SCTF Public Safety and Security Measures

State law requires each Secure Community Transition Facility (SCTF) to provide a high degree of security and staff supervision. The coordination and teamwork of SCTF program staff, sex offender treatment provider, community corrections officer, and local law enforcement are essential to assuring community protection. Security measures include:

  • The Court sets specific conditions for individuals conditionally released to an SCTF. State law requires sex offender treatment providers and community corrections officers to immediately report violations of those conditions to the court. The person can be detained by law enforcement or returned to the total confinement facility pending the outcome of a hearing when the Court determines if the person will continue in conditional release on the same or modified conditions, or be returned to total confinement at the SCC.
  • Escape is a Class A Felony that carries a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment. Escape includes unauthorized leave or absence from the facility, place of employment, educational institution, or authorized outing; tampering with or removing electronic monitoring devices; or escape from an escort.
  • The law requires the SCTF to provide intensive staffing ratios. At both SCTF sites, state law sets minimum staffing at no fewer than three staff per housing unit.
  • Unless a Court orders otherwise, each resident must be supervised on a one-to-one basis by a trained SCTF staff or Court-authorized escort (such as a community corrections officer or sex offender treatment provider) whenever the resident leaves the SCTF premises. The staff/escort must remain in close proximity to the resident during the outing.
  • SCTFs have state-of-the-art security systems, including closed-circuit cameras that monitor living areas and facility grounds, and staff-controlled exits to outdoor areas.
  • Intensive staff training, including knowledge of each resident’s offense history and behavior patterns. Although staff and escorts do not carry weapons, they are equipped with mobile phones and transport vehicles are equipped with police radios.
  • Advance planning of community trips. Residents are allowed to leave facilities’ premises only for specific purposes, as authorized by a Court order, and only with prior approval of the resident’s transition team. Reasons for leaving the facility may include treatment, employment interviews, employment, training and other activities, such as visits with family or friends or shopping.
  • Individual electronic monitoring devices. Unless a court orders otherwise, each resident must wear an individual electronic monitoring device.
  • Proximity of SCTF site to risk locations. An SCTF must not be sited adjacent to, immediately across a street or parking lot from or within 600 feet of public and private schools, school bus stops, licensed day care and preschool facilities, public parks and trails, sports fields, playgrounds, recreational and community centers, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and public libraries. The law also requires evaluating a site to include determining if barriers exist or can be installed to shield the SCTF from the view from adjacent properties; if electronic monitoring services are available to the area; and if the resident would have reasonable access to community services such as treatment, employment, vocational training, etc.