Special Commitment Center

What We Do

The Special Commitment Center Program

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) operates Special Commitment Center (SCC) programs that provide specialized mental health treatment for civilly committed sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences.

Superior Courts in the county in which an individual was previously convicted of a sex crime have the authority to determine if individuals meet the legal definition of a sexually violent predator and to civilly commit them to the SCC.

Institutional Program

Civilly committed individuals’ first enter the SCC’s institutional program at the total confinement facility on McNeil Island. This Sex Offender Treatment Program consists of increasingly challenging levels of rigorous treatment.

Each SCC resident has a right to an annual review hearing before the Court of commitment to evaluate progress made in treatment. If the Court finds the resident has made progress to the point that the resident can be safely managed in the community, the Court may order the resident’s conditional release to a less restrictive alternative (LRA) community placement.

Community Transition

Any SCC resident committed to the total confinement facility may at any time petition the Superior Court for a conditional release to a less restrictive alternative placement. To order a conditional release, the Court must be convinced, after considering evidence and expert testimony, that the proposed living arrangement will provide adequate protection for the community.

Only SCC residents who have successfully completed the required levels of treatment in the institutional program and who receive DSHS recommendation are referred to the court of placement for consideration for placement in a Secure Community Transition Facility (SCTF). The SCC program operates two SCTFs: one on McNeil Island in Pierce County and the other in South Seattle in King County.

As a condition of release, each resident living in a court-ordered LRA placement must actively participate in a rigorous LRA treatment program with a highly qualified court-appointed community sex offender treatment provider. The provider must periodically report to the court on the resident's progress in treatment. The treatment provider, the assigned Community Corrections Officer from the Department of Corrections, and the SCC Community Program psychologist or SCTF Manager work as a team to oversee the individual treatment and public safety plan for each resident.