Washington State Penitentiary

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Not to be confused with Washington State Prison, in Georgia.
Washington State Penitentiary (WSP)
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Location Walla Walla, Washington
Coordinates 46°05′N 118°22′W / 46.08°N 118.36°W / 46.08; -118.36Coordinates: 46°05′N 118°22′W / 46.08°N 118.36°W / 46.08; -118.36
Status Operational
Security class Maximum,
Medium, Minimum
Capacity 1,988 as of June 2008
Opened 1886, 130 years ago
Managed by Washington State Department of Corrections
Director Donald Holbrook, Superintendent
Washington State Penitentiary is located in USA
Washington State Penitentiary
Washington State Penitentiary
Location in the United States
WSP is located in Washington (state)
Location in Washington

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 130 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.

The penitentiary was the subject of the song "Walla Walla" by American punk rock band The Offspring.

Notable inmates[edit]


Washington State Penitentiary opened 130 years ago in 1886, making it the oldest operational prison in Washington state.[2] 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.[3][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]