Green River killer Gary Ridgway to return to Washington prison

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OLYMPIA – The state Department of Corrections on Friday told the Federal Bureau of Prisons that it wants serial killer Gary Ridgway returned from Colorado to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

The decision was made after concerns from law enforcement that they wanted Ridgway easily accessible if they had future needs to interview him about open murder investigations, the DOC said in a news release.

A relative of one victim also criticized the move because families had not been notified, the DOC said.

After consultation with Gov. Jay Inslee, Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner informed the Federal Bureau of Prisons that Washington state would be flying Ridgway back from the federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

Inslee had not been informed of Ridgway’s transfer until it had been completed, the DOC said.

The department also said that Warner will notify victims’ families and consult with law enforcement before making any future changes in Ridgway’s incarceration.

The DOC said the decision to transfer Ridgway to Colorado was made because of the "high level of security and personnel needed to house him at the state penitentiary."

DOC had asked the federal government to imprison Ridgway in what is known as the ADX or "Supermax" prison at Florence -- and he was shipped to Colorado in May.

However, Ridgway has been in an adjacent high-security facility for intake and assessment before while they considered placing him in the "Supermax" prison.

Since his arrival in Colorado, Ridgway has been housed in a maximum custody cell by himself with no access to the general prison population.