McNeil Island Penitentiary (detention facility)


US Gov Name McNeil Island Penitentiary
Facility Type U.S. Federal Prison
Administrative Agency U.S. Bureau of Prisons
Location McNeil Island, Washington (47.2000 lat, -122.6833 lng)
Date Opened
Date Closed
Population Description Younger draft resisters from Heart Mountain and Minidoka incarceration camps were held here. Gordon Hirabayashi was also imprisoned here for draft resistance.
General Description Work prison located on an island in the southern portion of Puget Sound, 10 miles southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Currently a medium-security state correctional facility holding about 1,000 male inmates.
Peak Population
National Park Service Info
  • On June 26, 1944, sixty-three resisters from Heart Mountain were convicted by a federal grand jury and sentenced to jail terms. Thirty-three of the younger resisters were sent to McNeil Island, while the others were sent to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Thirty resisters from Minidoka were also convicted and sentenced to McNeil Island in October 1944. They were joined by a second group of Heart Mountain resisters in July 1945.
  • McNeil Island was a work prison and inmates held a variety of jobs, including canning fish, clearing land, and farming.
  • World War II draft resisters, including Nisei draft resisters, were pardoned by President Harry S. Truman on December 24, 1947.