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Level 3 sex offender moves in with others at N. Spokane apartments

SPOKANE, Wash. - A level three, registered sex offender is moving into a small apartment complex on the 1200 block of North Lincoln Street, that is already home to nine other level two and level three sex offenders. 

In 2004 Javon M. Miller, 32, was convicted of 1st-degree rape for an incident involving an 18-year-old stranger in Pierce County.  Miller was released from prison on January 24. 

In September 2017, Miller's new home on Lincoln Street, and the people living inside were the subject of a KXLY 4 special report on sex offender housing and how it impacts low-income neighborhoods. 

Kelly Cruz, the head of C.O.P.S. West and a lifelong resident of west central Spokane. He reached out to KXLY with concerns about transition housing for sex offenders in his neighborhoods- he felt west central Spokane was housing more offenders than other areas. 

The Department of Corrections has a policy called County of Origin under which offenders, barring some exceptions, are released into the county where they received their first felony conviction. If the offender and a community corrections officer cannot find adequate resources in the county of origin, or if the offender meets other qualifications other arrangements might be made. 

In Javon Miller's case, his rape conviction is under the jurisdiction of the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board. They have the ability to overrule decisions regarding offender placement. 

As to why so many are housed in west central- there's an economic factor at play, which was one of the concerns  Cruz brought in September.  

Transition housing, like the Lincoln apartments, that house multiple sex offenders under one roof. 

This location is monitored by a community corrections officer, and there are rules put in place to protect the residents of the apartment and the local community. 

But there is no state or Spokane city law that limits how many offenders can live under one roof. Some communities- like Puyallup, Washington- do have limits. 

Cruz had reached out to state lawmakers and local leaders to try and change that- suggesting a conditional use permit be required for homes that house more than one offender. 

“We have to dig our heels in and say we're a community, we'll tolerate some of this, we'll take our burden. But we will no become a dumping ground for sex offenders,” he said. 

KXLY reached out to Cruz on Tuesday, regarding any update to that suggestion, but has not heard back yet. 

When the Department of Corrections explained the transitional housing process to KXLY in September, they said it makes offender monitoring more effective. 

"We get the emotion that comes out because there's nothing more heinous than a sex offense," said Community Corrections Supervisor Tracy Engdahl. "But, at the same time, you can drive a person more into deviancy if you don't treat them with respect and give them resources." 

KXLY also reached out to the Spokane Police Department on Tuesday about any complaints that might have been made about the residence. Officer John O'Brien said in the last year, 10 service calls had been made. Most of them were medical issues. Others were for theft, vehicle prowling, and suspicious activity, but O'Brien said, on some of the calls, the offenders living in the home were possibly the victims. He said the calls did not stand out as excessive or abnormal when compared to multi-unit complexes in other neighborhoods. 


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