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:

  1. Origins and Transformation
  2. 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.

  3. Becoming a Federal Prison
  4. 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.

  5. Notable Prisoners
  6. 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.

  7. Attempts to Escape
  8. 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.


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