Prison Life - New to Prison

Prison life

Upon entering the prison system from jail, inmates are taken to a reception center for orientation, processing and screening.

The Washington Corrections Center, located in Shelton, is the Reception Center for all adult men who are sent to prison, with the exception of those sentenced to the death penalty, who are sent directly to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Women are sent to the Reception Center at Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.

The first day

Inmates arriving at the Reception Center are provided an orientation packet. They are fingerprinted and photographed. They are then assigned to a unit. The Unit Sergeant provides a verbal overview of the unit's rules and regulations.

Mail and telephone calls

Inmates are allowed to place collect telephone calls by using their Inmate Personal Identification Number (IPIN). Inmates are issued their IPIN within 72 hours of arrival at the Reception Center. Inmates can correspond with family and friends while at the Reception Center and are encouraged to do so.

Correspondence to male inmates at the Reception Center should be addressed as follows:

Inmate’s Name and DOC#
Washington Corrections Center – Reception Center
PO Box 900
Shelton, WA 98584

The telephone number of the Washington Corrections Center is (360) 426-4433. You will not be able to talk to an inmate by calling this number.

Correspondence to female inmates at the Reception Center should be addressed as follows:

Inmate’s Name and DOC#
Washington Corrections Center for Women – Reception Unit
9601 Bujacich Road NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335-8300

The telephone number of the Washington Corrections Center for Women is (253) 858-4200. You will not be able to talk to an inmate by calling this number.

Visiting at the Reception Center

Men housed at the Washington Corrections Center Reception Center are allowed to receive approved no-contact and contact visits unless they are "in transit" (awaiting transfer to another facility). Women housed at the Washington Corrections Center for Women-Reception Unit are allowed to receive approved contact visits.

In order to become an approved visitor, the visitor must submit the Visitor Application form. The application must be approved before a visit can be scheduled. Inmates are notified once a visitor is approved. Visitors are not contacted directly.

Screening and Testing

The Initial Classification process takes approximately 28 days. During this time, the Department of Corrections conducts medical, mental health and dental examinations, orientation and educational assessments.

Centralia College provides educational assessment and screening services; this informs educational placement recommendations. This information is used by receiving institutions to assign the appropriate adult basic skills and/or vocational educational programs.

During the physical examination inmates are screened for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis A, Tetanus and any other contagious diseases.

To assist classification and mental health staff in making recommendations regarding custody, placement and programming, participation in all portions of the assessment process is required. The assessments are designed to obtain information and identify concerns in the areas of suicide, victimization, violence, psychiatric diagnosis, substance abuse and educational needs.

Upon the completion of the initial reception center screening inmates are transferred to the appropriate facility for their custody level and needs. For more information about this process, visit "Where people live."