Submitted by Washington House Democrats.
The process of releasing sexually violent predators in Pierce County may change due to a bill in the Legislature proposed by Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-University Place. HB 1825 focuses on keeping families safe and provides Pierce County more tools to object to conditional placements in local communities when an offender’s crime was not committed in that county.
Sexually violent predators are placed in local facilities after spending a number of months or years at the special commitment center on McNeil Island.
“Lakewood and the rest of Pierce County can no longer be expected to be the primary location for release of potentially dangerous individuals in our community. It is unfair and puts local families at risk,” said Kilduff. “This legislation reforms the release process to fairly distribute sexually violent predators across the state and gives county prosecutors an option to object when proposed placements would put the community at risk.”
Current law does not do enough to guide courts when considering proposed “least restrictive alternative” placements of sexually violent predators and Pierce County receives a disproportionate number of these individuals. HB 1825 requires the Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) to review possible placement locations much earlier and waive fees for treatment providers in underserved counties. This encourages equitable geographic distribution of those sexually violent predators across the state.
Under this bill, courts must consider prosecutor objection to a conditional release of a sexually violent predator into their county. DSHS must also provide notice of any change of address of a sexually violent predator.
HB 1825 passed out of the Public Safety Committee on February 21.