Horne argued that Pierce County was a dumping ground
Pierce County officials are understandably fuming over Arkansas' reluctance to take Maurice Clemmons back. Had Arkansas

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Though Fuming at Arkansas Over Maurice Clemmons, Pierce County Has Also Tried to Keep Ex-Cons Away

Horne argued that Pierce County was a dumping ground
Pierce County officials are understandably fuming over Arkansas' reluctance to take Maurice Clemmons back. Had Arkansas issued a warrant in October for violation of Clemmons' parole in that state, Washington could have denied the serial offender bail for pending charges here. Instead, Arkansas refused, and Clemmons evidently went on to slay four Lakewood officers. Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told The Seattle Times that if the two states were adjacent, a "border war" would break out.

But Pierce County is no stranger to the idea of making troublesome ex-cons other people's problem. In 2007, then-Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne strongly lobbied legislators to require people released from prison to return to the county where they were first convicted-- not last. That's because often the place where they were last convicted was Pierce County, which has developed a number of support programs for former prisoners. Horne, now retired, argued that it was time for other counties to step up.

"The Pierce County prosecutor absolutely insisted on it because of the belief that once folks are released to Pierce County, they become Pierce County's problem forever," Sen. Debbie Regala, D-Tacoma, told Seattle Weekly at the time. Regala, a prime sponsor of the bill, said she had reservations because many prisoners hadn't lived in their so-called "county of origin" for years, and had spouses, children and other family elsewhere. Nevertheless, she and her co-sponsors agreed to include the provision to win political support for the bill, which passed.

Granted, the law does not present the kind of public safety issues as did Arkansas' action in the Clemmons case. But as our story showed, being forced to live away from family--and sometimes away from the best housing, counseling and drug treatment options--can it make harder for ex-cons to live stable, law-abiding lives.

 
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