Washington State profile
Washington State has an incarceration rate of 480 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than many wealthy democracies do. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in Washington and why.
Jump to COVID-19 data.
37,000 people from Washington are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Washington is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 98,000 different people are booked into local jails in Washington.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these Washington graphs:
Today, Washington’s incarceration rates stand out internationally
In the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.
People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails
See also our detailed graphs about Whites,
and American Indians/Native Americans
in Washington prisons and jails.
Washington's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Data on COVID-19 in Washington jails and prisons
If you're looking for case or death counts, our friends at the COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project have a detailed spreadsheet whose numbers may be as current as (or more current than) the state prison system's own data. To learn how Washington ranks on other important pandemic-related issues, see our resources below:
Our other articles about Washington