Grays Harbor led state on how many local residents are in prison

A recent report tracked what part of the state Washington’s imprisoned population comes from, and Grays Harbor leads the list.

The report from the Prison Policy Initiative called  “Where people in prison come from: The geography of mass incarceration in Washington,” was released this week.

PPI states that because of redistricting reform, the state counts which legislative districts the population of incarcerated come from, and shows that lower wage counties account for a larger proportion as compared to larger counties.

Washington is one of over a dozen states that now count incarcerated people where they legally reside — at their home address — rather than in remote prison cells. 

Using that redistricting data, PPI found that in Washington during 2020 when the numbers were reported, incarcerated people come from all over the state, and the largest number of imprisoned people are from the state’s most populous cities of Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. 

The report breaks down the numbers by county, city, and zip code.

Rural counties, such as Grays Harbor, have the highest imprisonment rates per 100,000 residents.

Grays Harbor had the highest rate in the state from their data (470 per 100,000) with 349 residents in state prisons. 

Pacific County sits at 7th highest for a county, with 287 per 100,000.

Narrowing that data, Aberdeen shows a much higher number than the county with 989 imprisoned per 100,000 residents, sitting at 3rd highest statewide. South Bend sits at 6th highest with 795 per 100,000.

Montesano also ranks high, sitting at 13th in the state at 553 per 100,000, and Raymond shows 485 per 100,000.

Both are in the Top 25 statewide.

PPI stated in their report that high imprisonment rates around the country can be tied to communities with problems related to poverty, employment, education, and health. 

More than 15,000 Washington residents are locked up in state prisons, leaving the state with an imprisonment rate of 197 per 100,000 Washington residents.