Community Protection Program

The only journalist that exposed this community protection program was Ruth Teichroeb of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She wrote series of articles about it. Obviously similar programs exists in other states and countries. Rest of the post consist of selected quotes from articles about this program. Most of the articles are only available through


DSHS doesn’t advertise the Community Protection program. The names of residents and their histories are confidential. Even their addresses are confidential. Workers aren’t supposed to tell anyone about the program, according to most company guidelines.


In such cases, Community Protection, when it works, seems appropriate. But one of the state’s criteria in identifying candidates for the program is “other,” which includes “any behavior, which the case manager may feel places a danger to the person or others.”

So some people in the program have no history of any offense whatsoever. Others might need help – but not necessarily this program. One 18-year-old resident, a victim of sexual and physical abuse as a child, is described as “has humor, likes to help.” But there’s nothing else, according to state records. “Real nice guy, but is addicted to drugs & alcohol,” stated another person’s offense description.


But critics of the program say it, in effect, places people under house arrest for something they might do in the future.

“We do have people out there who are essentially under involuntary commitment,” said Ed Holen, the executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Council, a federally mandated watchdog agency. “They haven’t been charged. They haven’t been prosecuted. That’s not fair. And it certainly violates the person’s civil rights.”


Federal officials are investigating reports in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of abuse of clients and insufficient oversight of the state-run Community Protection Program, which pays contractors an average of $93,000 a year per person to closely supervise dangerous developmentally disabled adults.


The $42 million annual state program contracts with 16 residential vendors to provide 24-hour supervision of 381 clients who need monitoring because they are sex offenders, physically aggressive or set fires. All but two of the contractors are for-profit companies.


“I was very disturbed,” Keiser said. “We need to look at that very carefully.”

She questioned whether the program should rely so heavily on for-profit companies.


The state’s intent is excellent. The Department of Social and Health Services contracts for intensive supervision of developmentally disabled clients whose behavior poses a risk to the community, especially sex-related offenses. Care in the community avoids impersonal institutions.


Louis, the mildly retarded young victim of a sexual predator in Washington State, was put under 24-hour supervision with a for-profit residential care company, partly to protect the community in case Louis’ abuse turned him into an offender, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He never had been in trouble with the law. He’d never threatened the safety of others. Yet the state placed him in the $42 million annual Community Protection Program — the closest thing Washington has to a prison without walls.


Roberts is one of 13 Community Protection clients who have died in the past four years. All but one of the deaths has been blamed on natural causes. An Aacres Landing client died in June 2001, a few months after accidentally setting himself on fire.

DSHS officials refused to release names of those who died, citing federal and state privacy laws, making it nearly impossible to investigate their deaths. Roberts’ death came to light because his co-workers took up a collection to put his obituary in a local newspaper.


The state pays for-profit companies to closely supervise dangerous developmentally disabled people in the community. While the costly program does protect the public in many cases — most of the clients are sex offenders — it has left vulnerable adults at risk of abuse and neglect.

Little-known state program failing to protect the disabled

Washington ‘Community Protection’ Program Blasted (

Protection program to get federal scrutiny (


Social Services: Beyond intent (

WA Community Protection Program: Victims Vulnerable (

Co-workers see a young man ‘waste away’. He dies while in state program

Public Protection, Private Abuse (all articles of Ruth Teichroeb at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer)


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