You Can’t Escape These Alcatraz Facts (15 pics)

Posted in INTERESTING       9 Jan 2019       3763       GALLERY VIEW

Before 1933, Alcatraz was actually a minimum-security prison where some inmates were even employed as babysitters for the children of the officers who lived on the island.


Alcatraz was the only prison to offer its prisoners hot showers, not out of kindness of course, but because they thought if the prisoners were used to the hot water from the showers, they’d be unable to handle the frigid waters of the Bay and would be deterred from escaping.


While incarcerated in Atlanta, Al Capone was able to bribe the guards for special treatment, and overall, lived pretty comfortably. However, when he moved to Alcatraz, the conditions were so harsh he told the warden “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked.”


Numerous prisoners at Alcatraz went insane during their incarceration, leading some to self-mutilation and suicide. One prisoner chopped off all of his fingers on his left hand and another tried to slash his throat with eyeglasses, only to be killed during an escape attempt.


Alcatraz was commissioned strictly for men – there were never any female prisoners. There were also no female guards, doctors, administrators, etc. Many prisoners went as many as 20 years without hearing a woman’s voice.


Unlike most prisons, criminals were not automatically sentenced to Alcatraz. The most defiant inmates were sent there to smarten up and learn to obey the rules. Therefore, Alcatraz had no set sentences. A typical inmate would spend 6 to 8 years there until they were deemed a “model” prisoner and transferred back to their original prison where they were either paroled or made to serve out the rest of their original sentence.


Alcatraz cells are barely bigger than a closet, measuring 5-feet by 9-feet. If a prisoner stretched out his arms he could touch the cell walls. They were just big enough for a sink, toilet, and cot. D block cells were bigger, but considering they were solitary confinement,, you probably didn’t want to move there.


Prisoners were allowed warden-approved visitors once a month, but visitations were strict. No physical contact allowed, no food or drinks, and no talk about current events or prison life.


In 1945, John Giles semi-successfully escaped the island by stealing an army uniform from the laundry and simply walking onto an army truck. It might’ve worked if the truck was headed for the city, but it was on its way to Angel Island, and as soon as he got off the truck, correctional officers sent him back to Alcatraz. So close, yet so far!


According to official records, no one ever escaped Alcatraz. 36 men tried – 23 were recaptured, 6 were shot and killed, and 5 were listed as missing and were assumed to have drowned. However, we’ve all seen Escape from Alcatraz…


Alcatraz’s final escape attempt by Frank Morris and brothers Clarance and John Anglin was turned into a book called Escape From Alcatraz, and a film by the same name. The three used homemade tools to drill holes in their cell walls in order to reach the vents and swim free using homemade life jackets. The men were never seen again and presumed dead. However, many believe they made it to shore and lived the rest of their lives as free men.


The annual Alcatraz Triathlon was created in 1980 to prove that escape from Alcatraz is possible — that is, for highly trained athletes. The marathon consists of a 1.5-mile swim, an 18-mile bike ride, and an eight-mile run.


The ADX Florence Prison in Colorado has been dubbed the Alcatraz of the Rockies. The prison holds some of the country’s most dangerous criminals, including the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, and keeps its prisoners in solitary confinement 23 hours a day.


Each prisoner had their registry number stenciled on their shirts and overalls, and it became a way of distinguishing the old timers from the newbies. Those with 4-digit numbers were newbies, while those with the low numbers were veterans such as Al Capone who arrived in 1934 and was known as number 85.


Below the A block of cells was a set of cells which were dubbed the Spanish Dungeons. Over the years, stories about the dungeons grew, some saying they were built by the Spanish Inquisition (they weren’t). Others claimed they were built beneath the water line because they were wet and cold. In truth though, they were 100 feet above the water line — not below. In 1942, the Bureau of Prisons decided that the dungeons were cruel and unusual punishment and prohibited any further use of them.








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