Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC)
Monroe Correctional Complex aerial view.jpg
Aerial view of the complex
Monroe Correctional Complex is located in Washington (state)
Monroe Correctional Complex
Location in Washington
Coordinates47°50′37″N 122°0′7″W / 47.84361°N 122.00194°W / 47.84361; -122.00194Coordinates: 47°50′37″N 122°0′7″W / 47.84361°N 122.00194°W / 47.84361; -122.00194
Security classMinimum, medium, close, maximum
Population2426 (as of 2018)
Former nameWashington State Reformatory
Managed byWashington State Department of Corrections
GovernorJay Inslee
WardenMike Obenland, Superintendent
Street address16550 177th Avenue SE
CountySnohomish County
Postal codeP. O. Box 777 (WSR/IMU)
P. O. Box 7001 (MSU)
P. O. Box 514 (SOU)
P. O. Box 888 (TRU)
CountryUnited States

Monroe Correctional Complex is a Washington State Department of Corrections men's prison located in Monroe, Washington, United States.[1] With an operating capacity of 2,500, it is the second largest prison in the state.[2] It opened in 1910, 21 years after statehood.


Vocational classes offered at MCC include printing, information technology and personal computer support specialist, and inmates can earn a GED while incarcerated. An independent non-profit, University Beyond Bars (UBB), offers college courses as a volunteer organization, and some people incarcerated at MCC have earned associate degrees despite the prohibition of state funding for post-secondary education.

A staff-supervised youth program is offered to high school and middle school students. It is designed to deter students from becoming involved in a criminal lifestyle by meeting selected inmates who tell them about the choices they made which led to their incarceration.

Class II and III jobs are located within MCC. Class III jobs provide essential services to the facility such as maintenance, janitorial, clerical warehouse workers, and kitchen work. Class II jobs are designed to reduce the cost of goods and services to state agencies and other tax-supported entities. These include laundry services, a print shop, a license tab shop, and the panel program. Class I industries were once housed at MCC, but were eliminated in July 2004 as a result of a Washington Supreme Court decision that held that inmates cannot be employed by private commercial enterprises.

Inmates have access to classification and mental health counselors at MCC, in addition to a wide range of paid and volunteer staff.


Monroe Correctional Complex is located on a 365-acre campus in Monroe, Washington.[2] On campus are five housing units:

  • SOU
  • MSU
  • WSRU
  • TRU
  • IMU

These vary from minimum to maximum security.[3]


Washington State Reformatory Unit (WSRU) - The original prison at the site; constructed in 1910. WSR is the second oldest prison in the state, only to Washington State Penitentiary. WSR has a capacity of approximately 720, and is minimum and medium custody inmates.[4] There are also extended family visit trailers for family style visits with immediate relatives, available to the entire Monroe complex. WSR also has an inpatient hospital that can also be used by other correctional facilities within the state. Major medical care can often be performed here, but serious surgical procedures are performed in community hospitals.

Special Offender Unit (SOU) - Opened in 1980, the Special Offender Unit houses Mentally Ill Incarcerated Individuals, and has a 400 bed capacity. Security Levels are Maximum, Close, Medium and Minimum.[5]

Twin Rivers Unit (TRU) - Originally known as Twin Rivers Corrections Center, the Twin Rivers Unit was opened in 1984. With a population capacity of 800, TRU houses both minimum and medium security levels. The Washington State Sex Offender Treatment and Assessment Program is located at TRU, and those participating in the program are housed there.[5]

Minimum Security Unit (MSU) - Opened in 1997, the Minimum Security Unit has a capacity of 470. The MSU has a program housing Mentally Ill incarcerated individuals that allows them to transfer to minimum from other security levels. This program is the only one in the state.[5] MSU houses incarcerated individuals with less than 4 years to serve.

Intensive Management Unit (IMU) - Opened in 2007, the IMU has a capacity of 200, 100 of that being designated for probation violators. The IMU houses incarcerated individuals that are difficult to manage in other facilities, and has a security level of maximum. The IMU has extremely controlled movement, and is the administrative segregation for the facility.[5][6]


The Washington State Reformatory opened in 1910, making it the second oldest operational prison in Washington state, behind the Washington State Penitentiary.[1] The next facility opened was the Special Offender Unit in 1980.[7] In 1984 the Twin Rivers Corrections Center was opened.[8] It is now known as the Twin Rivers Unit. In 1997 the Minimum Security Unit was opened.[2] In 2007 the Intensive management unit was opened.[6]

On January 29, 2011, Officer Jayme Biendl was strangled to death with an amplifying cord by an inmate within prison walls. Inmate Byron Scherf was accused of the murder.[9] Officer Biendl had repeatedly filed work orders for additional security measures to her supervisors which went unanswered. One of her supervisors, Sergeant Jimmy Fletcher, signed a sworn affidavit that he had signed one of the work orders and forwarded it up the chain of command. In reaction to the murder, Washington DOC Officers now carry pepper spray and a "panic button" in case of emergency, and inmates face higher restriction of recreational activities.[9]

In Popular Culture

Notable inmates

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c "Monroe Correctional Complex is state's biggest big house". The Everett Herald. January 20, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Monroe Correctional Complex Visiting hours, inmate phones, mail".
  4. ^ "Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC) | Washington State Department of Corrections". Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC) | Washington State Department of Corrections". Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  6. ^ a b ""Prison within prison" opens in Monroe". The Seattle Times. October 31, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Special Offender Unit Orientation" (PDF).
  8. ^ "TRCC" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b "Big changes under way at Monroe prison". The Seattle Times. November 3, 2011.
  10. ^ "Filming Locations for The Butterfly Effect (2004), in Vancouver and Washington State". The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Sunde, Scott; Staff, Seattlepi com (August 24, 2012). "The real 'Drugstore Cowboy' dies in state prison". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

External links

  • MCC page at Washington Department of Corrections website