It’s Surprising Which Washington City is #1 for Prisoners
There are over 15,000 Washingtonians incarcerated in state prisons. These inmates come from all over the state. Every county is represented in the Washington state prison system.
We've made a list of the Top-10 cities in Washington with residents behind prison bars, which you'll find below. But you should know: if you live in a poor neighborhood, the odds increase that someone you know will end up in prison.
The Prison Policy Initiative
These are the findings reported by the Prison Policy Initiative, based on information collected in 2020. This data is now available because Washington law prohibits "prison gerrymandering", in which census data previously counted the prison population as residents of wherever that prison was, rather than their home address. In fact, many of those prison "residents" come from out-of-state.
Washington State Counties that used prison gerrymandering in the past are:
- Grays Harbor
- Walla Walla
Prison gerrymandering may help politicians, but by inflating their city's population, it hurts communities that are under-invested in. It hides the neighborhoods that could use help.
Does Your Zip Code Predict Your Future?
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, there is a connection between communities with high rates of imprisonment, and under-investment in those communities. Unemployment, low household income, long commutes, lack of education, and abandoned homes are common factors. As is the lack of access to healthy food options, including farmer's markets and grocery stores.
And when compared with "nicer neighborhoods," the areas affected by incarceration have children with higher levels of lead in their blood. Old paint in old homes is likely to blame for poisoning them.
Ali Hohman, director of legal services for the Washington Defender Association, told the online newspaper CrossCut that “it really just shows that zip codes do dictate life outcomes."
Is your Zip-code in a high-incarceration area? You can access that information here.
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THE TOP 10 WASHINGTON CITIES WITH INCARCERATED RESIDENTS
BremertonPopulation: 43, 505
Residents incarcerated: 205
Residents incarcerated: 220
Residents incarcerated: 248
Residents incarcerated: 294
Residents incarcerated: 488
Residents incarcerated: 505
Residents incarcerated: 511
Residents incarcerated: 941
Residents incarcerated: 1,215
Residents incarcerated: 1,351