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Washington Association for 
the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse


Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA)
SSOSA was first established in 1984 and has undergone several revisions, first in the 1990 Community Protection Act, and more recently changes that went into effect in July 2005. SSOSA allows an offender who has no prior convictions for a sex offense and who has been convicted of an eligible offense, to submit to an evaluation to aid in the court in determining whether the offender would be amenable to community treatment. These evaluations must be conducted by a state certified sex offender treatment provider.

An offender who is granted SSOSA usually spends time in jail (up to 12 months), is supervised by the Department of Corrections, must maintain employment, successfully participate in treatment, and comply with other conditions set by the court. The court can order treatment for a period up to five years. There are many other legal details regarding SSOSA that can be found at: RCW 9.94A.670

SSOSA has been the focus of much attention at different times and many misconceptions exist. However, SSOSA has been the focus of several studies carried out by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, which is the legislature’s research body. These studies have consistently found SSOSA offenders to have one of the lowest recidivism rates for any kind of re-offending. It is a cost effective program in that offenders under SSOSA pay for their own treatment and supervision costs. In addition, they are typically required to maintain employment and participate in the costs of supporting their family and the costs of treatment for their victim. If offenders do not comply with their sentencing orders or fail to make progress in treatment, they can have their SSOSA revoked and be sent to prison.

Department of Corrections Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP)
The Department of Corrections has operated a prison-based specialized sex offender treatment program at the Twin Rivers Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex since 1988. Last year, SOTP also began operating a treatment component at the women’s prison at Purdy. SOTP is a 200-bed program. Any adult sex offender in a DOC prison may volunteer for the program, so long as they acknowledge their offense and are not appealing their case. Due to a high demand, SOTP does not accept all offenders who volunteer for services and the decision is made based on risk and need. Most offenders enter treatment when they are within 18 months of their release. The program is based on cognitive-behavioral and Relapse Prevention principles.

After an SOTP treatment completer is released, they are expected to continue in the community with an SOTP therapist, for up to one year in community aftercare treatment. SOTP treatment services are provided without cost to the offender.

Court-ordered Post-Release Treatment
As part of their sentencing, sex offenders may be ordered to participate in sex offender treatment after their release from prison. If an offender has completed SOTP, this requirement may be fulfilled by their continuing to participate in the SOTP community aftercare treatment. If an offender has not completed SOTP (many sex offenders who go to prison do not volunteer for SOTP and between ten and fifteen percent of those who do, fail to complete the program), then they may have to participate in treatment with a private certified treatment provider. In such a circumstance, the offender is responsible for all costs of that treatment.

Special Commitment Center for Sexually Violent Predators
A small number, less than two percent, of sex offenders are indefinitely committed under RCW 71.09 as“sexually violent predators” (SVP). Before a sex offender is released from a state institution, including juvenile offenders and offenders who have been committed as Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity to a state mental hospital, they are reviewed by the state End of Sentence Review Committee. If the offender has been convicted of a least one predicate offense, is viewed as having a “mental abnormality” or personality disorder and is likely to commit future acts of predatory sexual violence if not confined to a secure facility, then the Committee may refer them to the county prosecutor or the Attorney General for further consideration. If the prosecutor/AG decides to file a petition alleging that the offender in an SVP, then legal proceedings begin. If the court finds that there is probable cause, then the offender is detained at the Special Commitment Center pending a trial. At any time before or after a commitment trial, the person may enter the SCC treatment program. The treatment program is phased and includes group and individual treatment, as well as psycho-educational classes on relevant topics. Following completion of the inpatient program (and/or, if a court orders it), the resident may enter into a Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA) that may include placement at a Secure Community Transitional Facility or other residential arrangements as approved by the court. SVP’s who are approved for an LRA continue to receive treatment with a community certified sex offender treatment provider and must also comply with other requirements ordered by the court.

Private Pay Services
Private providers may, in addition to the above services, also provide specialized treatment services to adults and their families on a private pay basis. Although many adults who commit sexual abuse are handled through one or more of the procedures described above, there are still circumstances in which they are not. Most WATSA members who work with adults also provide services on a private basis.


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