Final days as prison near for McNeil Island

A closing ceremony is scheduled Thursday at the McNeil Island Corrections Center.

It’s officially closing on April 1 to save the state of Washington an estimated $9 million a year.

The Puget Sound island prison originally opened 135 years ago as a territorial prison. It became a federal prison in 1904 and was taken over by the state Department of Corrections in 1981.

At its peak, McNeil housed 1,700 inmates. They have included Charles Manson, who served time for check fraud before his California killing spree.

Most inmates have been moved to other prisons.

The Seattle Times reports that in the remaining weeks workers will board up windows and doors, disconnect electrical lines and cap off plumbing.