State studies capacity of its prisons

The state Office of Financial Management recently completed a comprehensive study on the status of capacity in Washington’s prisons.

The 69-page report was released earlier this month. You can read it here. (Warning: PDF may auto-download.)

The governor will consider the findings as she organizes priorities for capital expenditures in 2013, Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said.

It’s unclear what that all will mean when a new governor takes office next year. Any formal decisions likely would take months.

At last count, the state has about 100 empty beds at any time, Lewis said. The count becomes more complicated because prisoners often must be placed with special considerations for gang membership, custody level or mental illness, among other factors.

“The reason it’s important to us is the safety and security of prisons,” Lewis said. “It’s critical to have adequate capacity.”

It can get confusing at the Monroe Correctional Complex, which technically houses five separate prisons.

We’re still reading the report, but meanwhile, take a look.

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