Tacoma Urbanist

Jan. 16, 2008 at 12:27am

Tacoma And County Officials Consider Legal Action Against DOC For Felon Dumping


Today, the Tacoma City Council discussed possibly bringing a legal action against the Washington State Department of Corrections, presumably to enforce the recent state "fair share" legislation:

Mayor Bill Baarsma asked whether the city might have some legal recourse against the state. Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg said Horne already has someone looking into the possibility of a lawsuit.

TNT 1/15/2008.  The article states that:

For years, Tacoma and Pierce County officials have complained bitterly about being a “dumping ground” for the state’s ex-felons. Horne and others argue that the concentration of state-funded programs, including halfway houses, means that Pierce County has more than its share of ex-felons.
Interestingly:

Tacoma City Councilman Mike Lonergan said Tuesday that he’s ready to “go to war” with the state Department of Corrections over the number of ex-felons who end up in Tacoma.
Commentary:

Tacoma and Pierce County have had to sit by while they were the recipients of a greatly disporportionate share of felons who had committed crimes in other areas of the state.  With the large state, local, and "non-profit" infrastructure for housing and "treating" felons, relatively cheap housing, little public resistance, the DOC had a great incentive to continue placing felons in Tacoma and Pierce County.  It was simply more efficient in many ways.

With the new fair share legislation in place, perhaps Tacoma and Pierce County can finally make a difference in the number of felons being placed here.

It will take continued perseverance to make much of a difference especially when other counties have few facilities to handle various felons.  A court order may be needed on the issue.

Fortunately, we have a County Prosecutor (Gerry Horne) who has taken the issue on as well as a growing number of individials and groups and the TNT is monitoring the felon placements each month.

For more information see:


Tacoma City Club Study  : Thirty Years of DOC in Pierce County: Is it Worth it?

From
Pierce County Prosecutor Web Site: Crime Warp:


Pierce County has the worst violent crime rate in the State of Washington. Prosecuting Attorney Gerry Horne has labeled this a CrimeWarp and traced it to the policies of the State Department of Corrections.



CrimeWarp - What is it?

Pierce County has the worst violent crime rate in the State of Washington, despite the tremendous efforts by the Prosecutor’s Office and our law enforcement partners. Pierce County convicts three times as many felons as Snohomish County and nearly as many as King County (which has 2.3 times our population). Prosecuting Attorney Gerry Horne has labeled this a CrimeWarp and traced it to the policies of the State Department of Corrections.



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Comments

by Erik on 1/18/2008 @ 1:11am
Update:

DOC panel suggests dividing felons up in counties based on population. A great advance for Pierce County if it can be implemented:

Pierce County might start getting a smaller share of ex-convicts if state prison officials follow the recommendations of a citizen advisory committee on the placement of future work-release centers. Committee members on Thursday said the state Department of Corrections should build or rent work-release centers across the state based on each county’s share of the state population.

www.thenewstribune.com/front/topstories/...