Rantz: King County doesn’t monitor offenders. It’s worse than you think
A new bombshell report reveals that King County offenders on electronic home detention are not monitored on weekdays between 3:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. and not at all on weekends.
But the news could be way worse than you might think.
The Washington State Department of Corrections wants to release convicts from jail early — regardless of their crime — as a cost-saving measure. They would face home confinement instead. Can it be trusted?
Offenders aren’t monitored most of the time
Investigative reporter Susannah Frame discovered the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention (DAJD) isn’t doing their job.
The system is supposed to work this way: A suspect, in lieu of waiting for a court date in jail, is fitted with an electronic ankle monitor. If the suspect goes somewhere where they’re not supposed to, the ankle monitor sends an alert to the DAJD so they can alert local police.
But the system isn’t working as the public, or even judges, think. Frame, for KING 5, reports the DAJD office is only staffed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. That means, for example, if a domestic violence suspect terrorizes his victim on a Friday afternoon, the DAJD wouldn’t find out until Monday at 7 a.m. This isn’t just an example. It actually happened.
A man accused of strangling his then-pregnant girlfriend, revisited her home on a Friday in May. He had his ankle bracelet on. He’s accused of again strangling and threatening to kill her, plus assaulting her 6-year-old son. But the allegations continue. They include setting her apartment on fire and assaulting police at the scene.
You are not safe
The news shocked judges and victim advocates alike.
“We were deeply shocked, and we learned about it last week, frankly,” Judge Jim Rogers, Presiding Judge for King County Superior Court, told Frame. “It used to be 24/7 (monitoring) for years and they never told us that they changed it. That’s the problem.”
DAJD disputes this with a shocking claim: They’ve never been monitoring 24/7.
Nevertheless, when Frame started asking questions, the DAJD started a pilot program to test weekend staffing. But they’re only staffed for four hours each weekend day. DAJD doesn’t need a pilot program. They already know how staffing 24/7 would work. They need to be committed to actually protecting the public.
The bottom line is this: In King County, where we have rising crimes and a severe prolific offender problem, we are not being protected. But the worst may be yet to come.
The problem could get worse with Department of Corrections
Using COVID-related budget issues as an excuse, the DOC is pursuing radical social justice policies where they’d save money by keeping people out of jail. One goal has them reducing the prison population by 30%, in part, by releasing criminals early from their sentences.
The first proposal, if adopted by the legislature, would allow prisoners “with approved housing plans, regardless of offense or sentence type, to serve the final 150 days of their sentence in partial confinement on electronic home monitoring.” Absurdly, the DOC claims this will “support best practices for community safety and decreased recidivism.”
After the news from the DAJD, would you trust any idea to release child molesters or violent abusers to home confinement and monitoring? Releasing them early is a danger in and of itself.
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook.