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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Geiger moves female prisoners

A change made at Geiger Corrections Center in an attempt to end hanky-panky will create more vacancies for inmates there and at the Spokane County Jail.

Female inmates at Geiger were moved to a nearby building Saturday to prevent sexual encounters among the residents, said Leon Long, who has led the center since August.

There has been a history at Geiger of men and women making attempts to have sex, Long said.

“It’s just that the potential is there,” Long said. “I was surprised the first time I was out there that they were together on the same campus.”

In 1989, two inmates became pregnant at Geiger, according to a Spokesman-Review article.

“Women have been caught dressing up in men’s clothing and sneaking up to the men’s floors,” Long said.

Men and women also have been found together in bathrooms and in storage rooms near the kitchen, where both sexes worked together until the move. Long said those encounters occurred before he came to Geiger, and that as far as he knows, they were discovered before the couples could have sex.

The change has the added benefit of allowing Geiger to house about 70 more men – in the beds previously reserved for women – without much additional cost, Long said. And Geiger can accommodate 30 more women – for a total of 100 – now that they’re off-campus at the new location.

Until the transfer, the minimum- and medium-security lockup run by Spokane County had a capacity of about 70 women and 530 men. About 30 inmates are from the federal prison system; the rest come from the jail, which is run by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Prior to the move, Geiger was at capacity for female inmates. Because of the change, about 25 female inmates will move out of the Spokane County Jail and into the center this week, Long said.

“We’re just utilizing our space better,” Long said.

There are about 425 men housed at Geiger.

The jail, which often is at capacity, welcomes the opportunity to place more inmates at Geiger, said Spokane County Sheriff’s spokesman Dave Reagan.

“We’ll try to leverage that into more space for men because that’s what’s crucial at this point,” Reagan said.

When the sexes lived on the same campus at Geiger, they usually were separated. In the outdoor area, they were kept on opposite sides of a sidewalk. Inside, men lived on the second and third floors of the building while women were housed on the ground level.

Women were moved to a building that housed inmates who leave Geiger for work. Those residents were moved to the women’s former portion of the main Geiger campus.

“The move went pretty smoothly, and they’re settling in,” Long said.