Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

 

Alcatraz – The Federal Penitentiary or United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island was a maximum high-security Federal prison, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, California, USA, which operated from 1934 to 1963.

Alcatraz was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons. One of the world’s most notorious and best known prisons over the years, Alcatraz housed some 1,576 of America’s most ruthless criminals including Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the “Birdman”), George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. “Doc” Barker, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (who served more time than any other inmate). It also provided housing for the Bureau of Prisons staff and their families. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts during the 29 years of the prison’s existence, the most notable of which were the violent escape attempt of May 1946 known as the “Battle of Alcatraz”, and the arguably successful “Escape from Alcatraz” by Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin in June 1962 in one of the most intricate escapes ever devised. Faced with high maintenance costs and a poor reputation, Alcatraz closed on March 21, 1963.

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