Thursday, April 8, 2010

McNeil Island -- costs taxpayer $160,000 per year per person

Monday, March 15, 2010  -  Last updated 6:23 p.m. PT
Sex, drugs and child porn at McNeil Island
full text
Internal documents show staff-offender relationships, drug smuggling

That Donald Gamer would want photos of child sex is no surprise.

A convicted sex offender, the wheelchair-bound old man was locked away with 291 others at the state's Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. There they were in September, Gamer and six other offenders, when FBI agents arrived to take them into federal custody. Five of the seven men have since admitted to obtaining digital copies of photos and films showing children being raped or put on display.

That men inside the facility would do so was also no surprise. It had happened before and, apparently, has happened since.

How they managed to sneak child porn into a semi-secure facility, though, remains a mystery.

Internal reports show the facility -- an un-prison designed to house sex criminals who've served their prison but are deemed too dangerous to be released -- has suffered from contraband problems often associated with penal institutions.

Documents obtained by show should that in the past five years child pornography has been found at the center on at least 16 occasions. The total number of incidents is likely higher, due in part to redactions of information related to ongoing criminal investigations.

Beyond the residents' behavior, disciplinary files show that several Department of Social and Health Services employees hired to manage the facility apparently broke or bent rules of conduct.

In one case, an ex-employee attempted to smuggle a package to a sex predator residing at the center. In another, a female employee was found, her clothing in disarray, at a private home in the company of an offender she was supposed to be escorting.

Another former employee is under federal indictment following allegations he conspired with a Special Commitment Center resident to smuggle crack cocaine into the facility. The pair were handed over to federal authorities by the sex offender's girlfriend, a former nurse at the center.

Not prison, not hospital

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