When Josh Powell’s father, Steven Powell was sentenced to prison last year for voyeurism, a Pierce County judge also ordered him to complete sex offender treatment. That part of his sentence might not be done when Powell leaves prison next month.
The prison system in Washington has offered a sexual offender treatment program for more than 25 years, targeting high-risk offenders, focusing on preventing relapse. Each prisoner gets an assessment, according to Assistant Department of Corrections Secretary Anna Aylward.
“You want to learn what the risk is, what are the tendencies that that person might have, how can you best address where they need to really focus in order to improve community safety.”
Depending on their problems, Aylward concedes rapists and voyeurs might be treated in the same group.
It’s a voluntary program. For privacy reasons, Aylward can’t say if Powell signed up. If he does not get treatment in prison, he’ll have to complete a sex offender program when he gets out. Powell’s attorney did not return our calls.
Even if Powell did get treatment in prison, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist will argue in court that prison treatment is “not sufficient.” He called the prison program a “nice start,” but he wants Powell placed in a two-year, community treatment plan run by a provider picked by the county.
“I’ve never heard of that,” said Aylward, when asked about Lindquist’s comment. “But I think our treatment is on par with private providers.”
The corrections department reports that fewer than seven percent of the sex offenders treated at Monroe’s sex offender program return to prison.
Aylward appreciates that Powell is a high profile sex offender. “And I would wonder if there was just real concern around community safety and wanting to ensure that persons who were notorious really had the best possible treatment.”
Steven Powell was convicted last May of 14 counts of voyeurism for spying on neighbor children. His son, Josh Powell, was a suspect in the murder of his wife in Utah, when he killed his children and himself in February of last year.
Steven Powell is due for release from Monroe’s Twin Rivers Correctional Facility May 23.