- Early Years as a Military Prison. In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala (1745-97) mapped and named rugged Alcatraz Island, christening it La Isla de los Alcatraces, or Island of the Pelicans, due to its large population of sea birds.
- Doing Time as a Federal Prison: 1934-63. In 1933, the Army relinquished Alcatraz to the U.S. Justice Department, which wanted a federal prison that could house a criminal population too difficult or dangerous to be handled by other U.S. penitentiaries.
- Famous Inmates. Among those who did time at The Rock was the notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al “Scarface” Capone, who spent four-and-a-half years there during the 1930s.
- Escape Attempts from Alcatraz. Over the years, there were 14 known attempts to escape from Alcatraz, involving 36 inmates. The Federal Bureau of Prisons reports that of these would-be escapees, 23 were captured, six were shot and killed during their attempted getaways, two drowned and five went missing and were presumed drowned.
While several well-known criminals, such as Al Capone, George "Machine-Gun" Kelly, Alvin Karpis (the first "Public Enemy #1"), and Arthur "Doc" Barker did time on Alcatraz, most of the prisoners incarcerated there were not well-known gangsters, but prisoners who refused to conform to the rules and regulations at other Federal institutions, who were considered violent and dangerous, or who were ...
Oct 30, 2020 · Even though rules were so strict, inmates from other prisons sometimes requested to be transferred to Alcatraz because of its better overall living conditions and orderliness. Still, prison is prison, and some railed against it. As stated on History, there were 36 escape attempts during the prison's life cycle. Even if escapees weren't shot by ...
The United States Disciplinary Barracks on Alcatraz were acquired by the United States Department of Justice on October 12, 1933, and the island became a federal prison in August 1934. Alcatraz was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons.
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May 03, 2020 · In 1957, Bill Baker boarded a small wooden boat, his hands, and feet shackled behind his back where he was transported to the infamous Alcatraz prison after numerous escape attempts at other prisons. At the time, the frigid waters that surrounded Alcatraz was shark-infested and becoming famous in various Hollywood productions.
- Escape from Alcatraz. Alcatraz Island has been used as a site for several films including: Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Enforcer (1976), Escape From Alcaltraz (1979), Murder in the First (1995), The Rock (1996), Catch Me If You Can (2002), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and The Book of Eli (2010).
- ALCATRAZ HISTORY.
- Alcatraz Discovery. The island was first documented in 1775 by Spanish explorer, Juan Manuel de Ayala. Juan Manuel de Ayala had mapped the San Francisco Bay and called this particular island “La isla de los alcatraces”, meaning “Island of the Pelicans”, because the Island was home to large colonies of brown pelicans.
- Alcatraz Military Outpost. In 1846, John C. Freemont, Military Governor of California, purchased Alcatraz Island on behalf of the United States Government from Mexican Governor, Pio Pico, for $5,000.
- Extreme Punishment. At the best of times, conditions in Alcatraz were not exactly a barrel of laughs, but there was a particularly harsh punishment for prisoners who refused to follow the rules of the prison.
- Battle of Alcatraz. The Battle of Alcatraz, or the “Alcatraz Blastout” as it was also known, took place between May 2nd and 4th, 1946. Six prisoners managed to get hold of weapons and cellhouse keys, but there was a minor hitch in their plans.
- Mysterious Death. There were many stories of paranormal activity in Alcatraz, and one particular incident occurred in Cell 14D. Sometime in the 1940s, a prisoner who was locked in the cell screamed all night that something with glowing eyes was trying to kill him.
- You’ve Gotta Have a Hobby. Stroud was sent to prison for killing a bartender who attacked one of his prostitutes when he was a pimp, and he quickly became known as a violent and dangerous inmate.
Mar 18, 2020 · Everybody knows Alcatraz is one of the most infamous prisons in history, but this island penitentiary was actually a lot different than its legend suggests. From prison bands to escape attempts, here’s what life on Alcatraz was really like.
- Kathy Benjamin
Martini says Alcatraz is thought to be the place where the “worst of the worst” end up. But it’s more complicated than that. People who escaped from other prisons, or started riots, were sent there. The government used Alcatraz as a threat to deter wannabe criminals and prison escape artists when it opened up in 1934.
Alcatraz was more costly to operate than other Federal prisons, but that was mainly because it housed the most dangerous and disruptive prisoners in the system. That necessitated a much larger contingent of guards, in part because the guards had much more demanding duties in monitoring and controlling the prisoners.