Ridgway moved to state prison in Walla Walla

Green River Killer: He could still be transferred elsewhere

January 9, 2004 

Green River Killer Gary Leon Ridgway has been moved to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, bypassing the normal intake process that would have required him to be taken to the state corrections center in Shelton first.

"We decided for security issues that we would move him directly over to the penitentiary," said Jim Thatcher, classification chief for the state Department of Corrections.

Ridgway was sentenced last month to 48 consecutive life terms after he pleaded guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Since then, he had been held in the King County Jail.

Ridgway boarded a bus to Walla Walla on Monday.

Typically, the first stop for a new inmate is the Corrections Department's Reception Center at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

Over the next few weeks, corrections officials will gather information on Ridgway and interview him to determine whether to classify him as a minimum-, medium-, close- or maximum-security offender.

Most believe Ridgway's notoriety and criminal history will require that he be housed as a close-security inmate, where he'll be under visual supervision at all times. Three state prisons are equipped for close-custody inmates - those in Walla Walla, Clallam Bay and Monroe.

Though Ridgway will remain at Walla Walla for at least the next month or so, Thatcher said he won't be officially placed until the assessment is over.

He is not mixed in with the general inmate population and likely won't be even after he is classified, at least not at first. It's more likely that he will join about 125 state inmates who are in protective custody.

These inmates, including former law enforcement officers, high-profile sex offenders and inmates who have testified against other inmates, are kept separate from the general prison population.

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service