Washington State Penitentiary

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Washington State Penitentiary (WSP)
Washington State Penitentiary is located in Washington (state)
Washington State Penitentiary
Location in Washington
Location Walla Walla
Coordinates 46°4′41″N 118°21′32″W / 46.07806°N 118.35889°W / 46.07806; -118.35889Coordinates: 46°4′41″N 118°21′32″W / 46.07806°N 118.35889°W / 46.07806; -118.35889
Status Operational
Security class Minimum, Medium, Close, Maximum
Capacity 2,439
Opened 1886
Managed by Washington State Department of Corrections
Warden Donald Holbrook, Superintendent
Street address 1313 North 13th Ave.
City Walla Walla
County Walla Walla County
State Washington
ZIP Code 99362
Country United States
Website www.doc.wa.gov/corrections/incarceration/prisons/wsp.htm

Washington State Penitentiary (also called the Walla Walla State Penitentiary) is a Washington State Department of Corrections men's prison located in Walla Walla, Washington. With an operating capacity of 2,200, it is the second largest prison in the state (after Coyote Ridge Corrections Center) and is surrounded by wheat fields. It opened 132 years ago in 1886, three years before statehood.

It is the site of Washington State's death row and where executions are carried out. Methods for execution are lethal injection and hanging. However, Governor Jay Inslee has put a hold on executions while he is in office.

Located at 1313 N. 13th Avenue, it is commonly known as "the Walls" among inmates and "The Hill" to the locals. The penitentiary is sometimes known as Concrete Mama, from a book with the same title by Ethan Hoffman and John McCoy. Elsewhere within Washington, and also to an extent in the surrounding states, the name Walla Walla is a metonym for the penitentiary. The penitentiary was the subject of the song "Walla Walla" by American punk rock band The Offspring.

Notable inmates[edit]


Washington State Penitentiary opened 132 years ago in 1886, making it the oldest operational prison in Washington state.[5] Over a one-year period, starting in March 2002, more than one hundred inmates and staff at the Washington State Penitentiary were infected with Campylobacter jejuni. During this period, five clusters of the infection were identified, and genetic testing indicated that all of the bacteria were indistinguishable from each other. The source of this outbreak is not known, but contamination via pigeon feces, as well as unsafe food handling procedures, were examined.[6][clarification needed]


The penitentiary has four groups:

  • camp: short term
  • the Low Crime Facility: 30–60 years
  • the Medium Crime Facility: 50–life
  • the High Crime Facility: life–death row

See also[edit]


External links[edit]