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Washington prisons running out of room

Marc Soller

With about 16,000 inmates, the Department of Corrections says Washington prisons are at 102 percent of capacity and they need to find space by this summer to hold 160 more.

The department found space last week for 140 inmates by deciding to house two inmates each in single-inmate cells at the state Reformatory in Monroe.

The Seattle Times reports the department is considering reopening dilapidated units at the state Penitentiary at Walla Walla or renovating units at the Maple Lane School, a recently closed Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration lockup at Grand Mound.

The crowding is visible at the state Corrections Center at Shelton, the first stop for inmates entering the state prison system. New arrivals are known as "rugs" because they have to sleep on the floor.

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