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Inside Olympia — Sex Offender Release and Monitoring

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The second in a series of three episodes focused on sex offenders: those who are civilly committed after serving their sentences, their treatment at the state’s Special Commitment Center (SCC) on McNeil Island, and their potential release to a “less restrictive alternative”, or LRA, in the community.

This week, host Austin Jenkins interviews defense attorneys Brad Meryhew and Shoshana Kehoe-Ehlers, both of whom have worked extensively in this area. Meryhew is chair of the state’s Sex Offender Policy Board. Kehoe-Ehlers is the lead program managing attorney for civil commitment at the Washington State Office of Public Defense. They discuss the history of the state’s civil commitment process for some sex offenders, their constitutional rights and the process for ending a civil commitment.

Once a sex offender is released to an LRA, the responsibility for monitoring that person in the community fall to the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC). How are offenders monitored once released? We put that question and more to Chris Wright, who is communications director for the DOC. He came to that position from Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services, where he handled communications for the Special Commitment Center.