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

SOURCE: Washington state Department of Corrections

More in Local News

Agencies launch coordinated response to an opioid ‘emergency’

Health workers, law enforcement agencies and emergency managers are responding as they might to a disaster.

Jordan Evers distributes coffee Sunday afternoon during the annual community meal at Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett on November 19, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Firefighters serve Thanksgiving meals at Carl Gipson center

The next two feasts at the senior center in Everett will be Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 3.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

Darrington School Board race might come down to a coin flip

With a one-vote difference, a single ballot in Skagit County remains to be counted.

Front Porch

TREE LIGHTING EVENTS Several communities plan tree-lighting events to kick off the… Continue reading

Most Read