washington state penitentiary

Washington State Penitentiary

Washington State Penitentiary, also known as Walla Walla State Penitentiary, stands as a formidable maximum security prison that boasts an unparalleled level of security. This correctional facility, ranking as the second largest in Washington, possesses the capability to accommodate up to 2,439 adult male offenders. It serves as the designated institution for housing death row inmates and carrying out executions. Let’s delve deeper into the distinctive features of the Washington State Penitentiary, including its inmate population, housing units, and noteworthy programs.

Unveiling the Inmate Population and Housing Units

The inmate population at Washington State Penitentiary is divided into four distinct groups, each assigned to a specific facility based on the severity of their offenses and sentence duration. Let’s explore these divisions:

  1. The Camp: This facility houses inmates with short sentences, offering them an environment conducive to rehabilitation.
  2. Low Crime Facility: Reserved for inmates with sentences ranging from 30 to 60 years, this unit ensures a controlled atmosphere for rehabilitation and correction.
  3. Medium Crime Facility: Inmates with sentences of 50 years to life find their place in this facility, fostering an environment aimed at reform and personal growth.
  4. High Crime Facility: Reserved for inmates with multiple life sentences and those on death row, this unit employs the highest security measures to ensure public safety.

In addition to the categorization by sentence duration, Washington State Penitentiary accommodates inmates in various specialized housing units, including:

  • IMU North: A unit dedicated to housing maximum security and segregation inmates.
  • IMU South: Another unit designed to accommodate maximum security and segregation inmates.
  • Delta, Echo, Fox, Golf: Close custody units focused on housing inmates requiring heightened supervision and security measures.
  • BAR Baker, BAR Adams, BAR Rainer: Close custody units that provide secure housing for inmates based on their specific custody needs.
  • Victor, William: Medium custody units that prioritize effective rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates.
  • 6, 8, 10: Minimum custody offenders find their placement in these specialized units, emphasizing their transition back into society.
See also  Stafford Creek Corrections Center

Unique Opportunities: Correctional Industries and Vocational Training

Washington State Penitentiary prides itself on participating in the esteemed Correctional Industries program, which provides inmates with valuable work opportunities. Through this program, inmates engage in various industries, such as:

  • License Plate Factory: Inmates contribute to the production of license plates, enabling them to develop essential job skills.
  • Metal Shop: Inmates are involved in metal fabrication tasks, allowing them to acquire practical expertise in this specialized field.
  • Laundry Operation: Inmates work in the laundry facility, performing tasks related to the cleaning and maintenance of institutional clothing and linens.
  • Recycling Center: Inmates play a crucial role in recycling efforts, contributing to environmental sustainability within the facility.
  • Agricultural Ventures: Inmates participate in planting and harvesting crops, gaining agricultural skills that foster personal growth and responsibility.
  • Warehouse: Inmates are involved in warehouse operations, honing their organizational and logistical abilities.

Moreover, Washington State Penitentiary offers vocational training programs that equip inmates with valuable skills to enhance their employability upon release. These programs include:

  • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning: Inmates receive comprehensive training in HVAC systems, preparing them for careers in this field.
  • Graphic Design: Inmates learn the principles of graphic design, developing creative skills that can be utilized in various industries.
  • Information Technology: Inmates gain proficiency in IT, acquiring knowledge and skills that are in high demand in today’s digital era.
  • Auto Body Repair: Inmates receive hands-on training in auto body repair, equipping them with marketable skills within the automotive industry.
  • Carpentry: Inmates develop carpentry skills, fostering craftsmanship and enabling them to contribute meaningfully to construction projects.
  • Welding: Inmates receive training in welding techniques, preparing them for careers in metalworking and related industries.
See also  Olympic Corrections Center

Another notable program at Washington State Penitentiary involves the collaboration between offenders and shelter dogs. Inmates work alongside these dogs, providing obedience training to facilitate their eventual adoption.

Visitation and Contact Information

For individuals seeking to visit inmates at Washington State Penitentiary, it is essential to be aware of the visitation hours and relevant processing times. The visitation schedule and visitor processing times can be accessed through the official website. Noteworthy details include:

  • Visitation hours at the West Complex: Everyday from 10:15am to 5:30pm.
  • Visitation hours at the East Complex: Everyday from 10:30am to 4:30pm.
  • West Complex visitor processing times: 10:15am-11am, 12:30pm-1pm, 3:45pm-4:30pm.
  • West Complex visitor processing out times: 12am, 1pm, 2:15pm, 3pm, 5:30pm.
  • East Complex visitor processing times: 10:30am-11:15am, 1pm-1:30pm, 3:45pm-4:30pm.
  • IMU and IMUS processing times: 12:30pm-1pm.

For detailed information on visiting inmates at Washington State Penitentiary, it is highly recommended to consult the Visitors Guidebook.

Address and Contact Information

Physical Address: Washington State Penitentiary 1313 North 13th Avenue Walla Walla, WA 99362

Telephone: (509)-525-3610

Inmate Mailing Address: Inmate Name, ID Number Washington State Penitentiary 1313 North 13th Avenue Walla Walla, WA 99362

History of Washington State Penitentiary


Established in the late 19th century, Washington State Penitentiary began as a territorial prison before evolving into a crucial component of the state’s penal system.

Major Historical Events

Throughout its history, the Penitentiary has been the site of notable events, including a series of riots and reforms that have helped shape its current form.

Structure and Facilities

Architectural Design

The Penitentiary showcases a unique blend of architectural styles, reflective of the changing attitudes towards corrections over the years.

Different Blocks

It houses multiple blocks, each catering to different levels of security, ranging from minimum to maximum, and even includes a death row.

Life Inside the Washington State Penitentiary

Daily Routine of Inmates

The daily life of an inmate is structured and regulated, yet varies based on their security level and rehabilitation progress.

See also  Washington Corrections Center

Rehabilitation and Education Programs

The Penitentiary offers various rehabilitation and education programs, signifying a shift towards rehabilitating, rather than merely punishing, the incarcerated.

Notable Inmates

Several infamous criminals have called Washington State Penitentiary home, leaving a lasting imprint on its legacy.

Current Status and Functioning

Today, the Penitentiary continues its operations, housing thousands of inmates and focusing on their rehabilitation.

Public Perception and Impact on the Community

The Penitentiary holds a mixed public perception and has a significant impact on the local community, providing employment while also posing challenges.

Comparison with Other Penitentiaries

When compared to other penitentiaries, Washington State Penitentiary stands out for its unique blend of history, reformative focus, and the challenges it faces.

The Role of the Washington State Penitentiary in the Criminal Justice System

The Penitentiary plays a pivotal role in Washington’s criminal justice system, serving as a site of punishment, reform, and a deterrent to potential offenders.

Future Prospects

The future of Washington State Penitentiary hinges on many factors, including the shifting attitudes towards punishment and rehabilitation in the state and the nation at large.


From its inception, Washington State Penitentiary has been a central institution within the state’s criminal justice system. It carries the burden of its past, the responsibility of its present, and the promise of its future. As society’s attitudes continue to evolve, so too will the role of the Penitentiary, always striving to balance punishment with rehabilitation in a bid to create a safer, more equitable society.


1. When was the Washington State Penitentiary established?
The Washington State Penitentiary was established in the late 19th century.

2. What types of inmates are housed in the Washington State Penitentiary?
The penitentiary houses inmates with varying security levels, from minimum to maximum, and also has a section for death row inmates.

3. What kind of programs are available for inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary?
The penitentiary offers a variety of rehabilitation and education programs for inmates, aiming to better equip them for life after incarceration.

4. How does the Washington State Penitentiary impact the local community?
The Penitentiary impacts the local community in several ways, including providing employment opportunities. However, it also poses challenges, given its role as a correctional facility.

5. What is the capacity of the Washington State Penitentiary?
The Penitentiary is capable of housing thousands of inmates, making it a significant component of Washington’s criminal justice system.

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