Prison Life — Transfers
Inmates will sometimes be transferred from one facility to another. Factors that are considered when transferring an inmate include but are not limited to behavioral issues, bed space, change in custody level, medical and mental health issues, separation concerns and work⁄education programs.
The Thinking for a Change (T4C) memo describes a program that may cause a transfer.
Can an inmate ask to be moved to another facility to be closer to his or her family?
Yes. The Department recognizes that visiting is an important program. However, it isn’t always possible to have inmates located close to where their family members live. When separated from your loved ones by distance, we encourage you to maintain contact through letters.
What if a close family member is ill and cannot visit the inmate?
An inmate may request a transfer through his or her regularly scheduled classification review. Medical information pertaining to the ill family member should be forwarded to the assigned Counselor for consideration during the classification review. It is important to note that although a facility might recommend approval for such a transfer, DOC Headquarters will make the final decision based upon the factors listed above, including available bed space.
My loved one was told he will be transferred out of state. What can I do?
The Department appreciates and understands the concern of inmates, their family and friends regarding out–of–state transfers. Unfortunately, the Department is currently faced with a population crisis in our prisons. The overcrowding in Washington prisons has reached such levels that the current population exceeds available bed space. Although we attempt to keep inmates close to their family and loved ones, we are forced to make some very difficult alternative placements both in–state and out–of–state for some of our inmate population. At such time as we have adequate in–state capacity, these inmates will be returned to Washington state. The best thing family members and loved ones can do is continue to support the inmate through letters and, if possible, telephone calls.