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Grand Opening of Correctional Industries Optical Showroom

June 12, 2024 Updated July 18, 2024

By Brendan Baptiste Communications Office

The grand opening of CI Optical Showroom in Tumwater will bring affordable eyewear to DOC and CI staff and their families. (Photo courtesy of Brendan Baptiste, Communications Office)

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The opening of CI Optical, part of Correctional Industries (CI) headquartered in Tumwater WA, marked a significant expansion of the vocational training programs available within the state’s correctional system. After over 9 years of effort, the Optical Showroom will showcase another segment of the diverse range of industries that CI supports, adding to the already established furniture program currently exhibited in their showroom.

The eyeglasses available for sale will be manufactured by trained incarcerated individuals at the Airway Heights Corrections Center. These individuals undergo rigorous training to ensure they produce high-quality eyewear, and their dedication is evident as they complete over 700 pairs in a day. This impressive production has primarily benefited people who are on Health Care Authority medical plans, providing them with affordable eyewear.

The Optical Showroom offers a comprehensive range of eyewear options for adults and children. Customers will be able to choose from a variety of lens types and options. Prescription and nonprescription sunglasses will also be available in an array of customizable selections. The showroom will not accept insurance, but the pricing will be extremely competitive, usually significantly lower than what is available from a typical retailer or optometry office, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.

One of the unique aspects of the Optical Showroom is its clientele. The Showroom is not currently open to the public, but instead serves the staff and families of the Department of Corrections and of Correctional Industries. Eyewear will be available for purchase after an appointment is scheduled with the optician. There are no plans to expand sales to the public, however there is hope that the showroom will eventually open its doors to all state employees. This potential expansion would further broaden the reach and impact of the program, allowing more individuals to benefit from the high-quality affordable eyewear produced by CI’s trained workforce.

Learning a trade provides valuable skills to incarcerated individuals and helps to create employment options upon their release. The additional benefit will be the opportunity for a select group of consumers to obtain affordable eyewear. As the program continues to grow and evolve, Correctional Industries stands as a shining example of leadership in both rehabilitation and community support.