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Tag: McNeil Island


Oprah spotlights ‘Most Dangerous Child Sex Offenders’ on McNeil Island

Today’s Oprah Winfrey Show took on the “Most Dangerous Child Sex Offenders in America,” which included a correspondent’s segment on Washington State’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

A story on Oprah’s Web site sets up the segment:

One hour outside of Seattle, there’s a small island in the Puget Sound that people rarely visit. Some residents rarely leave.

This place, McNeil Island, is home to a corrections center that houses hundreds of the state’s most dangerous sexual predators.

Cameras are almost never allowed inside this controversial facility, but in February 2010, correspondent Lisa Ling was granted rare

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Budget keeps McNeil open at 1/5 size

Senate and House budget negotiators say a deal still stands that would downsize the prison on McNeil Island by 80 percent.

Pierce County lawmakers were unable to secure a smaller cut to McNeil Island Corrections Center in the budget deal reached Sunday. Now we’ll see whether any of them try to amend the budget on the House or Senate floor.

If not, the prison will keep just 256 inmates, down from about 1,200. Under the deal, the prison would eventually close and be replaced by a new prison in western Washington. The plan is for the new

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Deal shaping up on prisons

A deal is shaping up to keep McNeil Island Corrections Center open — for now — but at a fraction of its current size.

Senate and House budget negotiators said they have tentatively agreed to downsize McNeil to just 256 inmates, from the 1,200 housed there now, and eventually close it. No date would be set for the closure, but the state would start planning to build a new prison.

Nothing is final.  House negotiators are still reviewing details. And there could be dissent among the rank-and-file, notably from Pierce County lawmakers.

The deal, which would turn McNeil into

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Morning update: Day 57

Good morning and welcome to the last scheduled week of the legislative session. We’ll see if lawmakers can hash out an agreement in the next four days to make this truly their last week.

  • The next step is for House members to pass a tax package, which could happen today. That would set up negotiations with the Senate, where tax increases squeaked through Sunday, most notably a three-tenths-of-a-cent sales tax increase. No Republicans voted for it, but six Democrats including Sen. Derek Kilmer bucked their party to oppose it.
  • The Senate and House Ways and Means committees

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House: Limit computer access at sex-offender lockup

Restrictions on sex offenders’ computer use at the Special Commitment Center cleared a deadline to advance today, passing the House. Now we’ll see if senators agree with the House’s scaled-back version.

The Senate had unanimously agreed to prohibit sex offenders’ access to computers unless they are deemed necessary for treatment. Sen. Mike Carrell pushed the restriction, outraged that 16 sex offenders were charged with or suspected in possessing child pornography over the past three years.

The objection in the House: That the restriction might make the Special Commitment Center look too much like a prison when the state

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Senators have it both ways on prison closure

The senators who proposed and backed the budget amendment to close McNeil Island prison have also signed on to a letter urging McNeil be kept open.

What’s more, the letter calls for the Vancouver-area senators’ local prison, which they pushed to save, to be downsized.

Here’s the sequence of events: The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the amendment Friday night to close McNeil and avoid closing the less expensive Larch Correctional Center in Yacolt. Sen. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver proposed the amendment and Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield defended it.

The full Senate gave its approval with no debate on the prison plan, but Pierce County’s delegation, upset about the prospect of losing jobs at McNeil, fired off a letter to Majority Leader Lisa Brown. (The House delegation did the same to Speaker Frank Chopp. You can read both letters here.)

A couple of names stand out on the letter: Zarelli and Pridemore’s.

They signed it even though the letter says, of Pridemore’s amendment:

In the Ways and Means committee the budget was amended to fully fund the Larch facility and totally close the McNeil facility. We question the logic of this decision.

After questioning their own logic, the senators go on to request that parts of Larch be closed:

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Senate panel: Close McNeil Island prison

Senators are moving to close McNeil Island Corrections Center.

The island prison would close by June 30, 2011, under a change Friday night to Senate Democrats’ budget plan, which originally called for downsizing the prison to move out nearly half of its 1,200 inmates.

The budget could be up for a vote on the Senate floor within hours.

The hand that taketh away from McNeil also giveth to Larch Corrections Center near Vancouver. The original Senate plan called for closing Larch and the House wants to downsize it, but the new proposal approved Friday by the Senate Ways and Means

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House: Close prisons, one Rainier School building

House budget writers want to use $857 million in tax increases to preserve or increase funding for college tuition grants for low-income students, Apple Health for Kids medical assistance, levy equalization for school districts, and a redesigned and renamed General Assistance Unemployable aid program (to be called Disability Lifeline).

Other cuts would not be avoided.

House leaders want to save $12 million by closing Ahtanum View and Pine Lodge prisons, shutting down a unit at Larch prison, and downsizing McNeil Island prison near Steilacoom  to convert it to minimum security.


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