A Secure Place To Treat Sex Offenders
The Special Commitment Center (SCC) on McNeil Island in Washington state is a new $60 million facility intended to provide therapy to sex offenders who are likely to repeat their crimes if released into society.
Some 190 prisoners from nearby McNeil Island Prison will be civilly committed to SCC at the end of April, where they will receive therapy, obtain job skills, participate in recreational activities, and receive visits from family members.
Security is provided at the 27-acre complex by such features as a sensor-equipped barbed concertina wire that gives off an alarm if someone tries to climb over. The alarm has been programmed to go off only if the climber weighs more than 35 pounds, to avoid false alarms due to the islands’ many raccoons.
SCC also features 24-hour monitoring, security cameras, tall double fences, and locked doors.
Administrators at the State Department of Social and Health Services estimate that the price to accommodate each resident at SCC will be $126,000 annually, compared to approximately $26,000 annually to keep an offender in the state prison.
By June 2005, capacity at the facility will be expanded to 308, up from the current limit of 228; the site can also be further expanded to house 404 offenders.
“I suspect the new SCC main facility will become a national model,” forecasts Mark Seling, superintendent at the center who will transfer to Pierce County, Wash., in April.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Tacoma News Tribune (WA) (03/27/04) P. A1; Turner, Joseph .