The construction blueprints call for a windowless box of a building with a courtyard surrounded by an eight- foot concrete wall, protecting the public from the building’s residents – and vice versa. It is an unusual design for a unique project, reports the Seattle Times. The halfway house, hunkered beneath the West Seattle Bridge, will be the state’s first attempt to return sexually violent predators to society. Should the first two men move in next summer as planned, the state will have 22 employees on staff to greet them. Each man is projected to cost $1 million a year, most of it for security around the clock.
Given the public’s outrage over the project, the precautions are wise, said Bob Hubenthal, capital- projects director for the Department of Social and Health Services. The sexually violent predators at the halfway house will be among the first to graduate from the state’s treatment program. In 1999, U.S. District Court Judge William Dwyer ordered the state to create a release process for those who finish the program, lest the treatment center be considered unconstitutional, indefinite confinement.