Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
FP_Podcast_Logo3.png
Forgotten Prison
Forgotten Prison premiered on Jan. 22, 2019

McNeil Island in South Puget Sound is the Alcatraz you've never heard of. The now-abandoned prison on McNeil operated for 136 years. Today, the island is home to the Special Commitment Center, which houses Washington state's "sexually violent predators." A collaboration between KNKX and the Washington State Historical Society, Forgotten Prison tells the stories of inmates, guards, and children who grew up on the island. The history of this forgotten place can tell us a lot about how and why we lock people up.

Ways To Subscribe
  • FP_Epiosde1.jpg
    Parker Miles Blohm
    /
    KNKX
    There are a thousand stories about McNeil Island. And odds are, you haven't heard any of them. In Episode 1 of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and…
  • McNeil Island
    Parker Miles Blohm
    /
    KNKX
    While the prison on McNeil Island closed in 2011, Washington state still runs the Special Commitment Center there. It's where the state keeps "sexually violent predators" who have served their prison time, but are deemed too dangerous to release into society. Technically, the commitment center is not a prison, but the reality is more complicated.
  • abandoned cells at McNeil Island's prison site.
    Parker Miles Blohm
    /
    KNKX
    The abandoned prison on McNeil Island and its 136-year history can tell us a lot about why we lock people up and how it has changed over time. Hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore the decaying structures on the island to learn how the modern American prison system came to be.
  • One of the homes that housed prison staff and their familes on McNeil Island.
    Parker Miles Blohm
    /
    KNKX
    One obvious thing that made the prison on McNeil unique was its island location. In Episode 4 of Forgotten Prison, we hear from former guards, inmates and…
  • sign.jpg
    Parker Miles Blohm
    /
    KNKX
    Studying the history of an American prison is really just a study in American history. Pick a major event, and odds are good you can find at least one story related to McNeil Island.
  • ferry dock at McNeil Island
    Parker Miles Blohm
    /
    KNKX
    McNeil Island is an especially forgotten prison. But, in the end, all prisons are forgotten in some way. In the last episode of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel wrestle with why that is.
  • Forgotten Prison podcast logo
    Adrian Florez
    /
    KNKX
    KNKX premiers Forgotten Prison on Jan. 22, a new podcast featuring McNeil Island — the Alcatraz you've never heard of. The six-part series, in partnership…