What Is Alcatraz Prison

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Located on San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz remained a naturally isolated prison, surrounded by freezing waters and hazardous currents. Existing as an isolated prison, meant that everything, including food, water, and supplies, had to be transported by boat. Alcatraz island occupied 22 acres of land. Alcatraz used electric gates and armed guards in and outside of the prison, which made it different from other prisons. Because Alcatraz had some of the most dangerous inmates, it remained needed to have armed guards. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary has had quite a few nicknames, including “The Rock” and “Uncle Sam’s Devil’s Island.” Alcatraz Prison has many untold stories, but the origin, punishments, famous inmates, and the closure of the prison, becomes…show more content…
Over time, the name was changed to Alcatraz. While the exact meaning is still debated, Alcatraz is usually defined as meaning “pelican” or “strange bird” (“Alcatraz”). This naming was due to a large population of sea birds. Alcatraz became the only prison to exist on an island. In 1850, President Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States, reserved the island for military use. Within the next few years, there was a fortress getting constructed. To protect Alcatraz Island, there were more than 100 cannons installed around San Francisco Bay. By the late 1850s, the Army had started to hold military prisoners at the island. At that time in history, Alcatraz had the most advanced security. Some of the first metal detectors became used at Alcatraz. Because of the cold, strong currents of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was deemed to be one of the best spots for a prison, and almost impossible to escape from. Also, few people realize that San Francisco Bay remains the site of the first American lighthouse and that the island once served as a huge harbor defense fort during the Civil…show more content…
Though the Capital Punishment did not happen at Alcatraz, some deaths did occur. At Alcatraz, a total of eight people got murdered, five committed suicide, and fifteen died from natural illnesses. Though the capacity of Alcatraz remained 336, the prison never once reached it. The average number of inmates at Alcatraz Prison remained 260-275 at any given time. The highest number of inmates recorded at Alcatraz came out to 302, and the lowest number 222. On average, inmates would stay around eight years before they would transfer to a new facility. On record, 36 prisoners were involved in attempts to escape Alcatraz in the 29 years of operation. Although, most escapees were either captured, shot, or presumed drowned in the high current waters of San Francisco Bay. Though two inmates actually made it off of the island, they were found quickly and brought back to Alcatraz. A total of seven inmates were shot and killed during their escape attempts. There were two inmates found dead who had drowned, and five inmates that remained unaccounted for. “The best-known escape was led by mastermind Frank Morris and recreated in the Clint Eastwood film “Escape from Alcatraz.” It took place on June 11, 1962” (Zaremba). Frank Morris and the Anglin Brothers, one of the most famous Alcatraz escapes, all three men became successful at swimming
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