LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Prison celebration and tour impressive

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On Aug. 17, relatives and friends of staff had the opportunity to attend the celebration marking the 125th anniversary at the Washington State Penitentiary. Excellent speeches shared the history of the prison, including the dark years of the 1970s, and progress made over the years.

Statistics were shared that were eye opening, as they contradict much of what is assumed by the public when we don't take time to obtain the facts.

Bob and I were extremely impressed with the level of professionalism of all the staff members we met during our small-group guided tours of various departments, ranging from the intensive management unit to laundry and kitchen to industries and education to the hospital. The strict procedures that are in place to protect staff, visitors and offenders are remarkable.

WSP has made great strides in energy and cost savings in many areas. Even the beautiful new entrance archway and fence (a replication of the original that graced the property in the early 1900s) is the result of recycled materials and a collaborative effort by Correctional Industries, Walla Walla Community College, WSP staff and offenders.

We are pleased the Department of Corrections and the Washington State Penitentiary invited us to share in this special event.

Kate Loper

Richland

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