Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Community Custody Definition:

The serving of part of an offender's confinement served in the community while the offender is strictly monitored.

Related Terms: Electronic Monitoring, House Arrest

A form of release of an offender who has served a period of incarceration. In Washington State, the statute defines community custody as follows:

"Community custody means that portion of an offender's sentence of confinement in lieu of earned release time or imposed as part of a sentence under this chapter and served in the community subject to controls placed on the offender's movement and activities by the department (of corrections)."1

In a footnote of Justice Coleman of the Court of Appeals of Washington in Re Smith:

"Community custody is a portion of an offender's confinement (in lieu of earned release time or imposed by the court) served in the community while the offender is monitored by (the department of corrections)."

In 1999, the same court, Justice Grosse writing for the Court, used these words in Re Crowder

"Community custody is the intense monitoring of an offender in the community for a period of at least one year after release or transfer from confinement. Although it has other purposes, community custody continues in the nature of punishment, and is not equivalent to general release. This custody and placement begins upon completion of the term of confinement or at such time as the offender is transferred to community custody in lieu of earned early release."


  • In re Crowder, 985 P. 2d 944 (1999)
  • In re Personal Restraint Petition of Liptrap, 111 P. 3d 1227 (2005)
  • In re Smith, 161 P. 3d 483 (2007)
  • Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9.94A.030(5) {note 1}

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