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Misconduct at juvenile facility

Champion Security Solutions
Published:2016-01-14 State
Misconduct at juvenile facility    Print Snohomish Times    
Misconduct at juvenile facility

Erin Snodgrass (aka Erin Stiebritz), a counselor at Green Hill School in Chehalis, was arrested January 11 for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a juvenile resident. Following an investigation initiated by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and conducted by the Washington State Patrol, she now faces charges of first degree custodial sexual misconduct.

Staff members at Green Hill reported the alleged inappropriate behavior that triggered the investigation. Snodgrass was immediately placed on alternative assignment and was not allowed to have any contact with juveniles while the investigation was ongoing.

“We are disturbed by the actions of this individual and have done everything we can to hold her fully accountable,” said Rehabilitation Administration Assistant Secretary John Clayton.

“DSHS has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” he added. “These incidents are inexcusable, and we have furthered our commitment to eliminate these abuses by heightening staff and resident awareness so they know when and how to report questionable behavior as well as to avoid it. As new knowledge and research about ensuring appropriate boundaries and behavior in institutions becomes available, we train and share that information with staff. We also educate our youth about how to spot and report misconduct.”

Juvenile Rehabilitation takes all allegations of staff sexual misconduct with youth very seriously. In December, Mindi Stoker, an administrator at Twin Rivers Community Facility in Richland, was arrested and charged with custodial rape, and later resigned, after staff reported suspicious behavior that prompted an investigation. While most allegations of misconduct are eventually determined to be unfounded, DSHS has worked diligently to create a culture where staff understand the standard of conduct and are expected to report questionable behavior.

The agency is committed to the standards set forth in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The federal law prohibits misconduct and harassment at correctional facilities. Staff members are not allowed to have any unsupervised contact with youth until they complete mandatory PREA training.

The Rehabilitation Administration provides rehabilitation services to the state’s highest risk juvenile offenders; vocational rehabilitation to individuals with disabilities; and specialized treatment for civilly committed sex offenders. Partnering with families and communities, the Administration team of 1,540 served more than 23,000 residents in 2014. Its annual budget is $98 million.

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