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As the cold waters rush into the San Francisco Bay, they crash up against an island standing in the strait. This rock is hidden by the fog and isolated by the chilling waters of the Pacific that flow in and out every day. It has a gloom that hangs about its rocky face most know it as Alcatraz but the men who experienced this island, referred to her as “The Rock”. To the men confined there, it is not only the ultimate in isolation but the most ironic because they are there in the midst of the activity of a busy harbor with small craft darting to and from San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Richmond, and Sausalito; within sound of the honking horns of a ceaseless procession of automobiles crossing the bridges; within sight of ocean…show more content…
Because of the passing of the Volstead Act in 1920, production and distribution of alcohol became an extremely profitable business. With this also came a noticeable rise in organized crime in many of the big cities. Even worse, the crimes committed by members of these gangs became more violent. Soon prisons were overcrowded and were merely hold facilities.
No correction was in mind for these prisoners. Convicts filled the empty hours with talk, mostly about the crimes they had committed and ways they could beat the law. Drug addicts and other petty offenders were mixed with killers and robbers. Young felons, who had taken to crime for no more than sheer pleasure or pride on a dare, came out of prison with no job skills but with plenty of advice from more experienced criminals. In 1933, J. Edgar Hoover was made the director of the recently established FBI agency.
Hoover had plans to crack down on these criminals. The problem Hoover faced was that, no sooner were the criminals locked up than the crime organizations would bust them out. With this major problem in mind, the Justice Department began looking into a maximum-security prison that was not easy to access and therefore inescapable. When they came across Alcatraz, it was almost too good to be true. By April of 1934, work began on Alcatraz to make the current cell house more secure by replacing soft iron square bars on the cells with new,
Alcatraz Island- Facts Unveiled
Located in San Francisco bay, Alcatraz Island is famous for being home to world’s deadliest prisoners. Nevertheless, being an island, Alcatraz has a very appropriate location to serve as a prison because it was surrounded by water on all sides. Following are some of the facts about the Alcatraz:
- Origins and Transformation
- Becoming a Federal Prison
- Notable Prisoners
- Attempts to Escape
Alcatraz was founded by the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala who named it after the huge population of seabirds that resided there. In the latter half of 19th century, the island was transformed into a military base. During the same period, the island began to be used as a military prison. It housed the prisoners of different wars held during the nineteenth century.
After the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Alcatraz was surrendered by the military to the justice department of the United States. The department reserved this prison for the most notorious and disobedient prisoners. This was again due to the fact that the prison was surrounded by water. Alcatraz, on an average day, housed only one percent of the total prisoners. However, this one percent was more dangerous than the remaining 99.
People known that have gained immense popularity through the danger they impose are known to have spent time in Alcatraz, top of the list is Al Capone. Al Capone spent a total of four and a half years in Alcatraz. He was known for corrupting the officers and continued to run his business while still in regular prison. As a result, he was put in Alcatraz where all such activities were brought to a stop.
Apart from al Capone, George Kelly and Alvin Karpowicz are also notable names who have spent their time in Alcatraz.
Despite being an island, inmates have tried to get out of Alcatraz. There have been altogether 32 escape attempts of which the officers managed to capture 23. Of the remaining, six were killed and two were devoured by the deep blue sea.
Of the attempts made to escape Alcatraz, the one that occurred during May 1946 was colossal. The inmates, in this case, got access to arms and ammunitions and presented a great deal of resistance to the officers. However, the prisoners were eventually killed but the attempt also inflicted casualties on the other side.
Alcatraz was finally closed in 1963 when it became too expensive for the government to run. The Alcatraz Island has, since then, been inhabited by Native Americans.