While Washington State is well regarded for its prisons because it is the state that houses the capital of the United States of America, that still does not mean all prisons in Washington are well regarded. In fact, some of the prisons in Washington are worse than they are in other states, and its prison policy is criticized by many saying it serves “no one.”
Washington Department of Corrections is responsible for operating over 12 prisons comprising 10 male and 2 female institutions.
What is the prison profile of Washington State?
According to a report by the Prison Policy Initiative, Washington state has an incarceration rate of 455 per 100,000 people, making it a higher percentage of its people than almost any other democracy being locked up on earth.
In 2022, a total number of 37,000 people will be behind bars in Washington state, out of which 20,000 are within the 12 state prisons.
What are the 7 worst prisons in Washington?
The following are the 7 worst prisons in Washington:
1. Airway Heights Corrections Center:
The Airway Heights Corrections Center (AHCC) is a state prison that is located in Spokane County, Washington. The prison was opened in 1992 and is a minimum to medium-class prison. Over the years, it has housed some of the most dangerous criminals of Washington state, including Gerald Friend, Nick McDonald, and Evan Savoie.
While the prison came to Media’s attention after the poor medication condition of inmates during the COVID-19 led Pandemic. Where at the height of the pandemic, almost 792 inmates caught the virus and complained the authorities were not providing adequate health facilities as the ones that were promised to them. In fact, due to their negligence, COVID-19 spread like wildfire.
Since things got way out of hand, the authorities put an extremely rigid lockdown on inmates where during the majority of their time, the inmates were not allowed to leave their cells, and their access to facilities was controlled or stopped. This made the already tough conditions for inmates even worse.
While the COVID-19 Pandemic is one tip of the iceberg, the prison has a serious overcrowding issue where inmates are clocked to their capacity, leading to numerous issues an inmate has to bear during their time in prison. The prison is around 15% to 30% overcrowded, which makes the inmates' life hellish, especially during the summer seasons when cooling facilities are almost inadequate.
While former inmates have reported even worse conditions, since media visits are very limited to the prison, the conditions might be worse than many believe them to be.
2. Coyote Ridge Corrections Center:
The Coyote Ridge Corrections Center is a medium-level security prison located in Connell, Washington. The prison is the largest one in terms of its capacity of 2,468 inmates and is operated by the Washington State Department of Corrections.
While the prison was given a LEED Gold Certification for making its campus environmentally sustainable, the inside conditions of the prison are some of the worst ones can imagine. Since 2011, the prison has been overcrowded, and no improvements have been made ever since to ensure the problem of overcrowding is adjusted or tackled. Even if some issues are taken care of, they add very little value.
While it is very little about the prison that makes it out to the public, however, in 2020, a former nurse decided to break the silence and reveal some of the worst and most inhumane conditions that are faced by the inmates.
The nurse revealed that the conditions had stayed the worst, but in the COVID-19 pandemic, they escalated where inmates who had COVID-19 were restricted from going to washrooms and refused to be given drinking water. Inmates were not even allowed to change their clothes, which happened only once a week. Due to such neglect, COVID-19 in prison spread like wildfire.
It was also revealed that guards and nurses in prison do not have ample training, and they make some of the worst decisions that have cost human lives and serious psychological trauma.
3. Monroe Correctional Complex:
The MCC or Monroe Correctional Complex is the second largest prison in the State of Washington. Still, the prison is often considered the most populated prison in Washington due to its being overcrowded. The prison was opened in 1910 and underwent renovations in 2018 that helped it to accommodate over 2,400 inmates.
What makes the prison such a terrible place to be is that due to its renovation, things have not improved, especially the sanitary conditions, which are old, where toilets get clogged, and authorities make inmates do the cleaning.
Additionally, the prison is overcrowded and way overstretched in its capacity to administer and manage. Due to these reasons, the prison has become an extremely difficult place for any inmate to serve.
Olympic Corrections Center:
The facility is a minimum security prison with a capacity of 381 inmates, making it relatively much shorter and easier to manage. However, the opposite is true.
While the authorities keep a strong check and eye on the prison and its inmates, problems remain. Especially the problem of a drug overdose is rampant and often considered to be neglected by the authorities.
Stafford Creek Corrections Center:
With a capacity of 1,936 and opened in the year 2000, the prison is made to house minimum, medium, and maximum security class inmates.
The major problem with this prison is hygiene and health. Not just in COVID-19, but even before and after it. There have been major breakouts in the prison that have made life worse for the inmates. Inmates accuse the authorities of their negligence in providing adequate and safe facilities, and even despite a $60,000 fine to the prison after the mismanagement, little has improved.
Additionally, there is also a bill introduced that will make the use of solitary confinement limited. However, even then, former inmates have reported very little has changed and that it is still a place guards use as an escape when an inmate is causing trouble or they believe someone might.
Washington State Penitentiary:
The second last on our list is Washington State Penitentiary, which is an all-male prison located in Walla Walla, Washington. The prison is a minimum to close maximum security one and was founded in 1886. Until 2018, the prison carried out the most number of state executions, but it was later abolished.
The prison also has a legacy of some of the worst conditions for inmates than there can be. Inmates often complain about poor health and hygiene facilities and also rampant fears of them being the next target of gangs and other powerful members in the prison who target inmates for “fun.”
As the prison is an old building complex, it does not have an adequate cooling system, and inmates face dangerous temperatures during summers; despite constant complaints, very little has been done to accommodate them.
Washington Corrections Center:
The last one on our list is Washington Corrections Center (WCC). The prison is a medium to closed security class for inmates and is located in Shelton, Washington. It has a capacity of 1,300 and was opened in 1964.
One of the major problems of the prison is its overcrowding. The prison is overcrowded, and the building lacks serious upgrades to the extent that some of its features are reported to be not just old but rather dangerous. Additionally, the guards in this prison are reported to exert additional dominance through the use of excessive force on inmates.
You can also read articles related to this topic;
- 10 Worst Prisons In The State of Tennessee
- Muskegon County Jail: Sheriff's Office Location, Information About This Prisons, How Many Inmates, and Visiting hours
- Baxter County Jail and Detention Center: Complete Information, Posting Bond, Visiting Hours
- 7 Worst Prisons In The State of Arizona
- Top 10 Worst Prisons in Florida State With High Crime Rate