PRESS RELEASE: Update Regarding Gary Ridgway Transfer
Released September 16, 2015
OLYMPIA – While the Department of Corrections generally does not discuss the transfer of inmates for security reasons, there has been a great deal of inaccurate speculation regarding the recent move of Gary Ridgway to a maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado.
The department requested that Ridgway be placed in the ADX “supermax” prison in Florence. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, FBOP, agreed to consider Ridgway for placement. However, the bureau’s procedures require inmates to first be placed into an adjacent high security facility for intake and assessment.
After the assessment, which can take several months, the bureau will decide whether the ADX is the best place to house Ridgway. This is normal procedure for inmates being considered for ADX placement.
Ridgway has been in a maximum custody cell by himself since his arrival at the federal prison. He does not have a job, or access to the general prison population. There’s no prospect of that happening for the foreseeable future. Any change to his status would be determined by the FBOP.
If programming is offered to Ridgway, it will occur inside his cell. The same was true in Washington state.
The Washington Department of Corrections transferred Gary Ridgway to the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado on May 14, 2015 for reasons of security management.
DOC is required by the U.S. Constitution to provide for the safety of all inmates in its custody.
Ridgway had been in a maximum custody cell at the Washington State Penitentiary since his conviction in 2004. Even then, there were security concerns for both Ridgway, and the staff who escorted him when he was outside his cell.
It was believed the FBOP facility in Colorado was well equipped to handle Ridgway and it would be good to have a fresh assessment.
This is not unusual. DOC moves inmates out of state for various reasons including protection of inmates.
Overall, the department currently has 54 inmates at out of state prisons, and houses 67 inmates from other states in Washington state prisons. Those figures include transfers with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.