The last prison in America located on a remote island is on the chopping block.
The territorial prison there got its first prisoners — two men who’d sold booze to Native Americans and one who’d robbed a fort store — in 1875, according to HistoryLink. When I visited the place last spring, the man who provided escort for me on the ferry ride told me an interesting fact. It wasn’t built for Alcatraz-like security reasons (i.e. its icy cold water surroundings) but rather because that’s just the way everyone commuted back then.
This prison’s older than the state itself, also giving it the unique distinction of being the only prison that started as a territorial facility, which then became a federal pen in 1890, and then a state prison in 1981. It was supposed to be temporary to run it to allieve overcrowding, but now almost 28 years later, it’s still going.
It’s expensive, as you might imagine, to haul inmates — and all the things that go to incarcerate them — on a ferry. That’s the likely reason for its possible closure.
We’ll see if Olympia votes to close it. If they do, perhaps the state could open it up to tourists — just like Alcatraz — and house a museum there.
Photo by http://www.communitywatch.org/