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Washington's Prisons to Reach 10,000

Washington's Prisons To Reach 10,000

Washington State's jammed prisons soon will hold a record 10,000 inmates, and the state is stepping up construction of more cells to head off the unrest that often comes with overcrowding.

"We've been pretty lucky that we haven't had problems," such as violence caused by overcrowding, Tana Wood, assistant director of prisons, said.

Corrections Secretary Chase Riveland said the inmate population at the state's 13 prisons is at a record daily average of 9,750, some 65 percent over their rated capacity. It will for the first time reach more than 10,000 inmates on a daily basis this summer.

Wood and Riveland said space for more than 3,300 new beds is under construction at Connell, Franklin County; Airway Heights, Spokane County; Clallam Bay, Clallam County; McNeil Island and the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy.

Riveland said the major cause of the rising inmate population is sentences. The state's inmate numbers grew by 17.8 percent from 1990 to 1991, primarily due to new commitments of drug offenders, he said.

From: Seattle Times, 5/28/92

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