Nov 03, 2020 · The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, aka "The Rock," served as the country's most secure federal prison from 1934 to 1963. Located on the island of the same name, the maximum security facility was, according to Alcatraz History, "the prison system's prison," where those criminals who were too unruly for other institutions were sent when they got out of line.
- Cody Copeland
- 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.
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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 1,576 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 ...
Because of the island’s escape-resistant location in the middle of San Francisco Bay, other army posts began to send their hardcore soldier prisoners to Alcatraz for safekeeping. By 1861, the government designated Fort Alcatraz as the official military prison for the entire Department of the Pacific.
Feb 28, 2015 · 1 At the onset of the Civil War, the armaments on Alcatraz consisted primarily of 8-inch and 10-inch Columbiads, in addition to 24-pounder howitzers. 2 Civil War, 1861-1865 During the Civil War, appropriations for fortifications were increased by congress, resulting in several new works being constructed on Alcatraz Island.
The prisoners on Alcatraz during the military years were a varied lot--including stowaways discovered on foreign vessels calling on San Francisco, Civil War privateers, prisoners from the Army's various Indian campaigns out west, even a German diplomat during World War I--serving time alongside disloyal officers,
No prisoners were executed as a court-ordered punishment at Alcatraz. When Sam Shockley and Miran Thompson were convicted of mutiny in the Blast-Out trial, they were sent to San Quentin's death row to be executed in the gas chamber. Most federal prisons conducted their executions using state facilities.
During World War II, the mat factory was adapted to make cargo nets for the Merchant Marine and Navy. Inmates also repaired and maintained the buoys used to anchor anti-submarine nets beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. One interesting facet of employment for the Alcatraz inmates was the
The standard facilities of the day usually consisted of a general prison room for compliant prisoners and a few individual cells for who remained in a rebellious mood. Alcatraz had both, but they were in separate buildings. The general prison room was located in the basement of the defensive guardhouse 500 feet up the road from the wharf.
Many of the prisoners died during the marches because of poor conditions and/or exhaustion, or were shot along the way. More than 140,000 Western POWs were captured by Japanese during World War Two, and these unlucky servicemen were exposed to some of the most extreme and inhumane treatment that occurred during the war.