According to the inmate who was the “con boss” in the book Concrete Mama, Vinzant and Genakos had a “busy hands are happy hands” policy. To that end they created opportunities in both traditional and innovative ways for inmates to keep busy. While some of their innovations involved questionable financial transactions and violation of the Washington Administrative Code, Vinzant also doubled enrollment in school and presided over the largest graduating class of inmates at the penitentiary to receive GEDs, high school diplomas, and two- and four-year college degrees.

Superintendent Douglas Vinzant addresses the new graduates

Superintendent Douglas Vinzant addresses the new graduates

Graduating inmates and their guests

Graduating inmates and their guests in the outdoor visiting yard


Nicholas Genakos was superintendent of WSP for six weeks

Nicholas Genakos

Nicholas Genakos, or “Nick the Greek” as the correctional officers called him, has the distinction of being the shortest serving superintendent of WSP in its more than 100 year history. He was superintendent for all of six weeks.

Prior to taking over from Douglas Vinzant as superintendent in July 1978, Genakos had been Vinzant’s associate superintendent for custody. The two men knew each other from their days in Massachusetts, when Vinzant was warden of Walpole prison and Genakos was his deputy. After a bomb exploded in the penitentiary’s central control room in August 1978, Vinzant was fired as Director of Prisons and Genakos was asked to resign as WSP superintendent.