Monroe Correctional Complex is state’s biggest big house

The Monroe Correctional Complex is the state’s largest prison, housing 2,385 inmates, with beds for 2,500. It is divided into units, with inmates sorted by length of sentence, the risk they are believed to pose to security, and behavior on the street and behind walls. Expect to hear more about how the prison operates this year as a former Monroe inmate heads to trial, facing a possible death sentence connected to the Jan. 29, 2011, killing of corrections officer Jayme Biendl.

The future of the century-old Washington State Reformatory within the Monroe complex has been subject of debate. Gov. Chris Gregoire’s supplemental budget proposal recommends converting the medium-security unit to minimum security to save money. The proposal involves releasing some inmates early, an idea that hasn’t generated much support among state lawmakers.

Monroe Correctional Complex

Total inmates: 2,385

Staff: 1,185

Budget: $110,575,946

Estimated annual cost per offender: $43,144

Land area: 365 acres

Prisons within the prison

Minimum Security Unit (1997): Houses a variety of offenders, many nearing completion of their sentence. Inmates: 467.

Washington State Reformatory (1908): Largely medium-custody inmates, most serving time for violent crimes or long terms for other offenses. Inmates: 603

Twin Rivers Unit (1984): Many inmates here are serving time for sex offenses and are participating in treatment programs. Inmates: 819

Special Offender Unit (1981): The state prison system’s residential mental-health-treatment facility. Inmates: 351

Intensive Management Unit (2007): Inmates kept here have demonstrated behavior that make them difficult to manage. Inmates: 144

Washington prisons

Total offenders: about 17,500

Male: 92.2%

Female: 7.8%

Average age: 37.7

Average length of stay: 24.4 months

Inmate ethnicity/race

White: 71.5%

Black: 19.0%

American Indian: 4.3%

Asian: 3.7%

Unknown/other: 1.5%

For more information about Washington prisons, visit the state Department of Corrections website at www.doc.wa.gov.

SOURCE: Washington state Department of Corrections

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