No sex offenders to be placed in Tenino-area house – yet

State agencies point finger at the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office regarding notification of neighbors


Transfer of the first resident into the proposed less restrictive alternative (LRA) residence for sex offenders near Tenino is postponed, for now, according to officials from the Washington State Departments of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Corrections (DOC).

DSHS’s Special Commitment Center Chief Executive Keith Devos said the release has been paused for the time being due to code compliance issues between the property and the county, but refused to provide further details.

“We won't be discussing those further this evening as well,” said Devos in a webinar held on February 1.

For 136 years, until 2011, there was a separate prison on McNeil Island; this was run by the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Devos also clarified that the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island is not closing, but clarified that residents do not remain there indefinitely. “McNeil Island is not a prison. What we do on McNeil Island is we provide inpatient treatment in a secure setting,” said Devos. “It is a highly secure setting but it is still a treatment facility.

Sheriff's office has been informed, state claims

Devos said the state provided the law enforcement notification in December, informing the Sheriff’s Office of the release.

“It is the responsibility statutorily for the sheriff to conduct the community notification. I do think in this case, there was a transition between the sheriffs and so it is likely that the new sheriff did not or was not aware at the time of this law,” Devos added.

Civil Commitment Program Manager Brandon Duncan said aside from the notification in December, they also had the chance to “ talk a little bit more in-depth about the program and about this particular LRA with Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders two weeks ago.

Chief of Transition and Program Accountability Candice Yi said that it is the Sheriff's Department’s obligation to “determine in what manner a notification is provided to community members at large.”

Last week Sanders organized a town hall meeting set for last Sunday that was to include representatives from DSHS and DOC, to answer questions from concerned residents. The state officials backed out due to “threats of violence” and the Sheriff led a two-hour meeting without them.

A letter posted by Sanders on Facebook reported DOC and DSHS receiving threats from individuals circulating on social media resulting in the two state agencies hosting a webinar instead of a face-to-face meeting.

Only the speakers were allowed to speak during the webinar, with participants restricted to sending their questions through the meeting chat or sending an email.


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  • Honestyandrealityguy

    Criminals should be in jail. Death penalty and "hard time" are proven to work.

    Thursday, February 2, 2023 Report this

  • bonaro

    People are cheering because the introduction of a violent *** offender has been postponed.

    Postponed literally means "wait until later". This is a well worn government tactic. They will return to the plan in a few weeks or months and quietly resume after the uproar has subsided. Do not be fooled!

    Placing sexual offenders back into a quiet rural community is lunacy and NOT in the best interest of the community. They are doing fine at McNeil Island. They say McNeil is only a treatment facility.. so change it!. It used to be a prison and already has all of the infrastructure.

    They talk about going to a Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA)...Why are level 3 *** offenders who are deemed most likely to reoffend given less restrictions? We definitely need to go the other direction. Leaving them on McNeil is the safest choice for the citizens.

    Thursday, February 2, 2023 Report this

  • FirstOtter

    More tap dancing around an issue and pointing fingers. WHEN did the State inform the Sheriff's office about their plan to release dangerous felons into the community?

    Right before Christmas, right? In the middle of a change of command in the sheriff's office...Snaza's departure and Sander's installation. Snaza was in command for years. The transfer of command doesn't happen over night.

    Now the state is blaming the sheriff's office for no notification? Sheeesh.

    The DOC and DSHS want to dump these monsters onto a rural community. I guess those branches then expect the monsters to be Good Little Boys, right? Do those state officials understand what the rest of us can see plain as day...that the monsters will parrot whatever their ""Counselors" and "Rehabilitators' want them to say so that they can get out and go back to raping and molesting. Felons do that ALL THE TIME.

    My foot. This is just dumping a problem onto the county and wiping their hands. And when they manage to catch one of the monsters re offending, it will be "oh my goodness, we had no idea he'd do this! He was a model inmate while in rehab!"

    Yeah..because they don't have little boys and girls in prison. DUH?

    Keep these monsters on McNeil Island. I don't care if they are eligible for release. In fact, let's revisit those parameters for release. And STRENGTHEN them. And let's quadruple the amount of time a *** offender, a rapist, a child molester, spends in the facility to begin with. I'd castrate them and brand their foreheads, too, but that, apparently, is deemed 'cruel and unusual punishment." Let's not think of the cruel and unusual monstrous things the monsters do to their victims.

    Friday, February 3, 2023 Report this