Who is in Washington’s prisons?

  • By Scott North
  • Monday, April 11, 2011 10:23am
  • Local News

Washington lawmakers are talking about trying to fill a multibillion-dollar hole in the state budget in part by freeing some inmates early from the state’s prisons. Sex offenders, murderers and those serving life without parole would not be eligible.

So who is behind bars in Washington? Check out this statistical snapshot from the state Department of Corrections. Compare it with the mug shot that appears with this post. That’s Jerry Perkins. He recently was sentenced to life after tallying three serious violent crimes, or “strikes,” among his 16 felony convictions. Cops reporter Rikki King wrote about Perkins’ life of crime. There are many inmates like him, especially repeat offenders doing life on the installment plan.As of December, 16,256 inmates were in the state prisons and another 1,741 were doing time in work release or in out-of-state lockups under contracts.

Like Perkins, most are white (seven out of 10). Data suggests there’s about an even chance they are doing time for a violent offense such as robbery, assault or homicide. Odds are about the same that they have been locked up before. One in five is behind bars for sex offenses.

Drug offenders make up less than 10 percent of the people in state prisons. That’s because many dope crimes bring sentences of less-than a year and are served in county jails. Property crimes account for about 3,000 of the state’s inmates. By contrast, nearly 2,700 are there for murder or manslaughter.

Perkins, 40, was a drug trafficker and thief, well known to local cops for stomping on girlfriends and people who owed him money. He now joins the roughly 3 percent of Washington’s inmates serving life. People with that sentence would not be eligible for release under any of the budget-balancing proposals. But before becoming a lifer, Perkins was in training, cycling in and out of the system for decades. Barring a successful appeal, he’s now one of the guys corrections officers will be working around for years to come, up close and personal.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Everett library, fire department will have social workers on call

Many 911 calls don’t require police or fire responses. City leaders want to ensure frequent callers get the help they need.

French fries and a fried chicken sandwich are shown at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York in 2015. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle
New Chick-fil-A restaurant coming to Everett?

An Everett Mall Way location would be the restaurant chain’s fourth Snohomish County store.

Charges: North Everett murder suspect caught on camera

Jeremiah Stringfellow, 27, is being held on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Naej Belledent, 22.

Meadowdale teen claims race kept her off varsity basketball team

The 15-year-old sophomore alleges that, consciously or not, a new girls basketball head coach limited players of color.

Everett resident Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Already, worst flu season in years has claimed 3 in Snohomish County

Statewide, 13 people have died, including two children, from the flu this season.

Scout Skyler MacKay, 14, sits amongst only a small number of the over 600 toys he has collected for local children in foster care as part of his Eagle Scout project Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at his family’s home in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen Santa: Scout brings toys and joy to foster kids, like he was

Skyler MacKay, 14, of Lynnwood is collecting 1,000 toys for his Eagle Scout project. Toys will be given year-round.

This screenshot shows the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office's new crime dashboard released to the public last week. It tracks crime trends over the last few years.
Sheriff’s new database gives window into Snohomish County crime rates

Homicides are up compared to 2021. Some other violent crimes and property crimes are down, data released last week shows.

Commander Rob Lamoureux speaks about his experience working on Jennifer Brinkman homicide case on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Suspect in 1998 Marysville homicide cold case released on $250K bond

Four days after his arrest, Jeffrey Premo, 52, was no longer in custody. He remains a suspect in the killing of Jennifer Brinkman, 19.

Most Read