Tacoma Urbanist

Dec. 22, 2007 at 12:22pm

Tacoma's Felon Houses Listed by Merryman

Today in her article, Kathleen Merryman via the TNT discusses the continual enthusiasm the DOC has in placing felon facilities in Tacoma, the new DOC proposed placement in Hilltop and lists the locations of the "homes for felons."

This is quite a different approach than in Seattle (via Seattle PI (10/12/2007) where local officials work to limit the placement of such facilities:

But university officials, including President Mark Emmert, defend the efforts they have made to persuade Gov. Christine Gregoire and state prison officials to move all registered sex offenders in the area to other neighborhoods.

Apparently, Pierce County officials have not been able to "persuade" the DOC to reduce the placements in the county.

I think this might (or should be) one of the main issues in the 2008 County Council, County Executive and Legislative races. 

I don't see how Tacoma and Pierce County can begin to address crime without getting a handle on felony placements here.

For more information, see:

Tacoma Group Home Map (A rare look provided by the city)

Pierce County Prosecutor's Final Report on "Crime Warp" ("Dumping Ground" Issue)

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

comments [6]  |  posted under crime, tacoma, washington


by scout on 12/22/2007 @ 5:12pm
The disproportionate dumping of recently released felons into Pierce County needs to stop. In the past year I have photographed questionable individuals doing suspicious activities in my neighborhood, which helped the Tacoma Police Department in approximately twenty arrests of criminals, all of which had prior records and were in the act of re-offending.

There is obviously a connection between Pierce County having the highest crime rate in Washington State and also being the number one spot to place recently released felons. There is an exponential effect of this practice because of the high rate of recidivism and because crime attracts more crime, creating unsafe urban areas and ruining neighborhoods. This vicious cycle is verified in plenty of reports on the issue and Pierce County Prosecutor Jerry Horne has worked tirelessly on legislation to more equitably distribute ex-offenders.

It’s hard not to wonder if the Citizens for Responsible Justice’s most recent sweetheart deal with the Department of Corrections is not a thinly veiled pretext for financial motive - the real price for the program to be paid forward by Pierce County neighborhoods and citizens.

It is time for Pierce County residents to say enough is enough.

Local civic activist Stacy Emerson suggests the following:

>> Sign the on-line petition to Stop the CrimeWarp
>> Watch Prosecutor Gerry Horne discuss the Pierce County CrimeWarp
>> Contact Prosecutor Horne’s office to voice your support
>> Read the synopsis of the CrimeWarp
>> Read the entire CrimeWarp Report (AKA DOC Report)
>> Contact your state and local officials and demand they STOP allowing this to continue.

Laura Hanan

by Erik on 12/22/2007 @ 8:07pm
There is obviously a connection between Pierce County having the highest crime rate in Washington State and also being the number one spot to place recently released felons.

True. Given that felons have a recidivism rate of between 40 and 60 percent, there is direct correlation between felony placement numbers and our crime rate and then we are forced to jail the felons again.

by Erik on 12/26/2007 @ 6:43pm

Here is an email I received from Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne on the matter. He is also concerned the recent "placements" on Hilltop will result in a high felony placement rate:

Kathleen: I too want to thank you.
Pierce (Tacoma) got the biggest housing
grant, whereas Sno Co's bid for grant dollars to house felons was reportedly rejected.

The biggest exception to returning prison felons to their "county of origin" has been "Location of family and/or other sponsoring persons or organizations that will support the offender in the releasing county".
(Emphasis added.)

None of the $1.1 million grant trickles down to cops,
prosecutors, courts, public defenders and jails. But the worst part is the violence that will be inflicted on our innocent citizens by these "hard to place" felons. ("Hard to place" is a term used by DOC as a euphemism for dangerous felons.)

Thanks to both you and Eric. We will eventually prevail
in reducing our violent crime warp because of people like you.

Have a great New Year!


by Erik on 7/10/2012 @ 9:08pm
Nearly five years later, Hilltop is still struggling with the same issue:

Hilltop neighbors urged the Tacoma City Council at its meeting
Tuesday to help prevent a rumored halfway house for sex offenders from moving into South Grant Street.The house in question, in the 1600 block of South Grant Street near Stanley Elementary and Al Davies Boys
& Girls Club, is owned and being renovated by Richard Garrett.
Neighbors claim Garrett plans to house level 2 and 3 sex offenders – a claim Garrett disputes.


by fredo on 7/11/2012 @ 6:43am
We want to get ex felons into stable lifestyles so they don't re- offend.

That's a great goal.

So what do voters do to encourage such stability?

Oh, they establish a minimum wage rate system which makes employment opportunities so insufficient that there is almost no chance a former felon can get a job. So many return to a criminal lifestyle. Is there anybody who can't see that an  insufficient number of entry level jobs will be created when the government mandates that entry level work pay $9.04 per hour?

Like so many things the government does we have established a system where there are conflicting objectives neither of which is obtainable because of the underlying conflict.

High mandated wages>insufficient jobs>high felon unemployment rates> high recidivism rates>neighborhoods upset with felon placements.

by cisserosmiley on 7/11/2012 @ 8:09am
If the City of Tacoma instituted a $12 an hour minimum wage it would force DOC/DOC contractors to locate residential services in lower cost communities.