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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcatraz_Federal_Penitentiary#:~:text=An inmate register reveals that there were 1,576,reported have varied and some have stated 1557.
- An inmate register reveals that there were 1,576 prisoners in total held at Alcatraz during its time as a Federal Penitentiary, although figures reported have varied and some have stated 1557.
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An inmate register reveals that there was 1576 prisoners in total which were held at Alcatraz during its time as a Federal Penitentiary, between 1934 to 1963, although figures reported have varied and some have stated 1557.
Despite its reputation, with many former inmates calling it "Hellcatraz," some prisoners reported that the living conditions there were much better than most other prisons in the country, especially the food, and many volunteered to come to Alcatraz.
- Joe Mcgasko
- Inmate #85: Al 'Scarface' Capone. Conviction: Tax evasion. Time Served at Alcatraz: 5 years (1934–1939) Post-Term: mental illness, death from syphilis. By the time Al Capone arrived at Alcatraz on the morning of August 22, 1934, he was past his peak as a crime kingpin.
- Inmate #110: Roy Gardner. Conviction: Armed robbery. Time Served at Alcatraz: 2 years (1934–1936) Post-Term: author, suicide. Alcatraz was repurposed by the federal government from a military prison to a general federal prison in 1933 expressly to deal with criminals like Roy G. Gardner, the man who was nicknamed “King of the Escape Artists.”
- Inmate #117: George 'Machine Gun' Kelly. Conviction: Kidnapping. Time Served at Alcatraz: 17 years (1934–1951) Post-Term: died of a heart attack in jail. It couldn’t be said that many of the criminals who ended up in Alcatraz were from good families, but Machine Gun Kelly was raised in a well-off Memphis household and even attended some college.
- Inmate #325: Alvin 'Creepy' Karpis. Conviction: Kidnapping. Time Served at Alcatraz: 26 years (1936–1962) Post-Term: author, pill overdose. Like "Machine Gun" Kelly, Alvin Francis Karpowicz saw kidnapping as an easier way to make large sums of money than bank robbing.
Each cell in B & C block was 5 feet by 9 feet. Cells at Alcatraz had a small sink with cold running water, small sleeping cot, and a toilet. Most men could extend their arms and touch each wall within their cell. The cells in D Block (segregation) were more spacious, but still the least popular. In D-Block, inmates were confined to their cells 24-hours per days, with the exception of one visit per week to the recreation yard, and these visits were alone.
There were 336 cells in B & C Block. NPS states that there were originally 348, but 12 were removed when stairways were installed at the end of each cellblock. There were 36 segregation cells, and 6 solitary confinement cells (actually known as confinement chambers by many inmates) in D-Block. Two cells on the end of C-Block were used as restrooms for the guard staff. The cells in A-Block were only used a few times for (rare) short term lock-up periods when an inmate did not require full solitary confinement seclusion, but needed to be fully isolated from other inmates. Records indicate that Clarence Carnes, Sam Shockley and Miran Thompson were all imprisoned in A-Block (separated by multiple cell lengths) following the 1946 Riots and while standing trial for the deaths of two Alcatraz Guards from the 1946 Escape Attempt. Otherwise, A-Block was used for materials storage.
Yes. Inmates were granted one visit per month and each visitation had to be approved directly by the Warden. No physical contact was allowed and rules dictated that inmates were not allowed to discuss current events, or any matters concerning prison life. Inmates talked with visitors via intercom and a correctional officer monitored the conversations during each the majority of the time (Alcatraz Captain Phil Bergen stated that they didn't always have time to monitor the conversations, but the vast majority were). Inappropriate conduct during visits would result in a loss of visiting and/or other privileges.
At any given time, there were about 300 civilians living on Alcatraz that included both women and children. The primary living areas for families were Building #64, three apartment buildings, one large duplex, and four large wooden houses for senior officers. Families enjoyed their own bowling alley, small convenience store, and soda fountain shop for the younger island residents. Families did most of their shopping on the mainland since the prison boat made twelve scheduled runs to the Van Ness Street Pier each day. The Warden lived in a large house adjacent to the cell house and actually used inmates with good conduct records for cleaning and cooking.
Actually, yes. Willie Radkay (he shared a cell next to Machine Gun Kelly), indicated that having your own cell was a great advantage over other federal prisons. By having your own cell, it reduced the chances of being sexually violated and the privacy aspect was also a cherished benefit. He also stated that the staff (the majority of the time) treated the inmates respectfully though they rarely spoke to one another. Furthermore, the food was the best within the entire prison system and considered his time at Alcatraz to be better than at any other penitentiary.
The common theme expressed by most inmates was the rule of silence which was discontinued in the late 1930's. In the earlier years of Alcatraz, inmates were not allowed to talk to one another except during meals and recreation periods. Some inmates commonly emptied out the water from their toilets and created a primitive communications system through the sewage piping. This rule was considered harsh and inmates were disciplined for even minor violations of this code. Inmates also state that the island was always cold. Most agree that cells on their higher tiers with window views were more popular since they tended to be warmer than the ground level cells.
There were eight people murdered by inmates on Alcatraz. Five men committed suicide, and fifteen died from natural illnesses. The Island also boasted it's own morgue but no autopsies were performed there. All deceased inmates were brought back to the mainland and released to the San Francisco County Coroner.
The highest number ever recorded was 302, and the lowest number 222. The average number of inmates during the 29 years of service was around 260. There were approximately 1545 total men imprisoned there and the NPS indicated that while 1,576 number were issued, over thirty convicts were returned to Alcatraz with different numbers issued. On average, the time of residence was about eight years. Men were never directly sentenced to Alcatraz and usually had to earn their way. There were only two men ever paroled directly from Alcatraz to the free world.
See the escape info link on this site that provides brief descriptions of each attempt. The NPS records indicate that 36 prisoners were involved in various attempts. Two inmates actually successfully made it off the island but were quickly captured. Seven inmates were shot and killed trying to escape. Two drowned and 5 inmates have been unaccounted for presumed drowned. The most famous escape was that of Frank Morris and the Anglin Brothers. All three were successful in swimming off Alcatraz, but all three are believed to have drowned. See the escapes links and also the Alcatraz short history narrative for more detailed information. The book ALCATRAZ - A Definitive History available for purchase on this web site has one of the most detailed accounts of this attempt ever written.
Primarily because of rising costs and deteriorating facilities. Operationally, Alcatraz was the most expensive prison of any state or federal institution. It was determined that other institutions could serve the same purpose for less cost.
None. Stroud had bred and studied birds at the Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Stroud was imprisoned at Alcatraz from 1942 until 1959. It was determined that Stroud was abusing his research privileges and sent to Alcatraz. Stroud was widely disliked by many fellow inmates and correctional officers. See other links for more detailed information. See his short biography in the Famous Inmates section here on AlcatrazHistory.com.
The cellhouse had been built on top of a 19th century fortress that was used by the military to protect the Bay. Below A-Block was a set of cells that were know as the Spanish Dungeon. These cells had been used primarily during the military prison era. In the late 1930's it is alleged that the dungeon cells were occasionally used for unmanageable inmates. Many correctional officers have agreed they had heard, or were aware that some extremely unmanageable inmates were handcuffed to bars in the dungeons for short periods of time. A-Block was used frequently as the segregation unit before D Block had undergone the transformation into a lock-down unit.
Alcatraz held over fifteen hundred prisoners. In the hundred years that the prison was operating, only four men successfully escaped, however one inmate was apprehended after he collapsed from exhaustion when he reached land under the Golden Gate Bridge. The other three inmates were never found again.
In total of 14 escape attempts, 36 prisoners tried to escape, 23 were caught, 8 died on the run, and five remaining are considered missing and drowned. Because of its increasing cost and remote location, Alcatraz prison was officially closed on March 21, 1963, only two years after the most famous prison escape attempt of all time.
Over the 29 years that Alcatraz operated as a federal pen-itentiary, records suggest there were 1,576 inmates who spent time on The Rock. It is difficult to be exact with that number, because a few inmates were at Alcatraz more than once;
- Al Capone played banjo in the inmate band. The notorious gangster and mob boss was among the first prisoners to occupy the new Alcatraz federal prison in August 1934.
- There were no confirmed prisoner escapes from Alcatraz. A total of 36 inmates put the supposedly “escape-proof” Alcatraz to the test. Of those convicts, 23 were captured, six were shot to death and two drowned.
- Alcatraz is named for sea birds. Before criminals became its denizens, the windswept island was home to large colonies of brown pelicans. When Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala became the first known European to sail through the Golden Gate in 1775, he christened the rocky outcrop “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” meaning “Island of the Pelicans.”
- In spite of his nickname, the “Birdman of Alcatraz” had no birds in the prison. While Robert Stroud was serving a manslaughter sentence for killing a bartender in a brawl, he fatally stabbed a guard at Leavenworth Prison in 1916.