Washington State Prisons
The Department operates 12 prison facilities including eight major prisons and four minimum-security prisons. The minimum-security prisons house offenders who will be released to the community within four years.
Offender Statistics as of March 31, 2016
Total Offenders in Prison: about 18,943
American Indian 4.6%
Hispanic Origin 13.0%
Average Length of Stay:
After an Offender is Sentenced
Offenders who are sentenced to more than a year and a day in confinement are sent to prison. Male offenders are first sent to the reception and diagnostic center at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. Female offenders are sent to the reception and diagnostic center at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor. Offenders spend about four to six weeks at the reception center, where they receive medical examinations, testing and psychological evaluations.
Based on the assessments, the offender's custody level is assigned in a process called classification. An offender can be classified as maximum-, close-, medium- or minimum-custody. An offender's behavior is a significant factor in determining what level of custody they require. Offenders are placed in the least restrictive custody level that will provide for the safety of the public, staff and other offenders.
After their custody level assignment, offenders are transported to an appropriate prison that meets their security level and programming needs. Through good behavior and programming, offenders may be approved to transition to a lower custody level.
The Legislature funds effective, evidence-based programs, as determined by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, that are available on a limited basis in the Department's prisons to include:
- Vocational Education
- Basic Education
- Correctional Industries
- Cognitive Behavioral Treatment
- Chemical Dependency Treatment
- Animal Training and Adoption
Read more about life as an offender
The Department acknowledges the benefit to everyone when family relationships are maintained during incarceration and supervision. Whenever possible, the Department provides visiting opportunities and specific visiting programs for offenders and their families.