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Early History

The earliest know person to discover Alcatraz was a Portuguese sailor by the name of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo exploring for the spanish monarch in 1542. He names the place Alcatraz due to the pelicans on there when he arrived so he named it after them. Alcatraz stays quiet with no one on it for hundreds of years until later when it was used during the gold rush to store gold. In 1852 they built a lighthouse on Alcatraz so they could alert the sailors of the dangerous rocky San Francisco bay. Then the cost got too expensive and too time consuming for workers to ride a ferry over and to go to work everyday. In 1861 the civil war started and Alcatraz was used to hold cannons and ammunition for the South. The North tried to claim Alcatraz. When they got there to their surprise they were captured and imprisoned on the island. When the South heard about this they sent their most vicious prisoners to Alcatraz and that's how it started off as a military prison.

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Alcatraz is known for holding the most dangerous and notorious hardened crimanals. Some of the famous inmates are Robert "Birdman' Stroud", George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and Al Capone "Scarface". These crimanals are the worst of the worst. There has been 14 attempts to escape from Alcatraz but no one has ever escaped and known to live.  Some people got into the bay waters, but were never found, so they are believed to have drowned.  There are 4 cell blocks. They are cell blocks A, B, C and D. Cell block A was rarely used because it was used for prisoners only staying there for a short period of time.  Blocks B and C were the regular blocks where most inmates stayed. Then cell block D was solitary confinement. The last day Alcatraz was open was on March 21, 1963.  They closed it because it was too expensive to maintain the prisoners there. The normal cost of a prisoner at a jail was 3 dollars a day, and at Alcatraz it was 10 dollars a day.

Todo lists

Todo list

Keep all inmates in control
let no prisoners escape
Put bad prisoners in solitary confinment.
Make prisoners work hard everyday


Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz island is approximately 1 mile away from the rocky San Francisco bay.

ALcatraz Lighthouse

Alcatraz was first a lighthouse

Famous Inmates

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Birdman of Alcatraz

One of the most vicious psychopaths in Alcatraz history is Robert Stroud or better known by his nickname "Birdman". In 1909 Robert committed his first crime by murdering someone and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. First, he was put at McNeil Island where he stabbed a fellow prisoner. Then he was transferred to Leavenworth prison where he refused to talk to his brother and then stabbed a guard in front 1100 prisoners. He was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to the death penalty. His mom pleaded to not give him the death penalty. The president thought it over and instead gave him life in prison. In Leavenworth he was put in a total solitude cell. In there he became interested in Canaries, which are a type of bird, after he found a hurt bird in the courtyard. He grew 300 canaries in his cell. Robert made 2 books about cures for Canaries. After awhile the guards found out that some of the equipment he had asked for was being used for making alcohol. in 1942 he was transferred to Alcatraz where he spent 6 of his 17 years in solitary confinement and 11 years in the hospital. On November 21, 1963 he died of natural causes. Years later they made a movie about him called "The Birdman of Alcatraz."

Machine Gun Kelly

George Kelly was called Machine Gun Kelly for his amazing machine gunning skills. People say he could write his name on a piece of wood by shooting his machine gun. George was a bank robber, kidnapper, and a killer. He was a cab driver in Memphis and fell into financial troubles. After that he started working in the underground selling illegal items. After being arrested many times he moved west. in 1928 he was sentenced three years in Leavenworth prison for putting alcohol in an indian reservation. After serving his years in prison his wife, 2 other guys and him went to kidnap a rich guy named Urschel. After the kidnapping they demanded $200,000 from him in 20 dollar bills. Urschel was very smart and spread his fingerprints everywhere which helped police find them. After "Machine Gun" and his wife released Urschel the FBI tracked the 20 dollar bills and found the two criminals. Both were sentenced to life in prison, where the two were separated. George made threats that he would escape from prison and go live with his wife. The guards took this seriously and transferred him to Alcatraz. In Alcatraz he worked as a laundry guy, and altar boy for the church and was an administrator for the offices. He was a very obnoxious guy yapping about all the things he didn't do, even though he did. On July 18, 1954 he died of a heart attack.

Al Capone

Al Capone is one of the best known gangsters that ever lived because he was a person that was consistently breaking the law. First he killed two men and was never tried for murder because no one had evidence that he killed them. Then he shot a rival gang member and was sent to Chicago. In Chicago he got into the alcohol business with a partner of his Torrio. Torrio was killed and Capone took over the business. Life was perfect for Al Capone, he was making $100,000,000 a year selling drugs and alcohol. Chicago finally got Al Capone out and Al moved to Florida. On February 14, 1929 Capones' men killed 6 people because they were taking away from Capone's alcohol business. Capone got out of a lot of trouble because he didn't leave much evidence. He moved back to Chicago and was named the number 1 public enemy. He was convicted of not paying his taxes for 7 years and was sentenced to 11 years in jail. He was first sent to Atlanta where they said he took control. They allowed him privileges to have a mirror, typewriter, rugs and an encyclopedia. After word got out he was transferred to Alcatraz. In Alcatraz he didn't get any privileges and could not convince anyone to be on his side or control anyone so he was pretty calm. He didn't participate in any strikes. In Alcatraz he caught signs of syphilitic dementia. On November 16, 1939 he had finished his jail sentence and lived the rest of his life. As his health continued to get worse, on January 21, 1947 he had a apoplectic stoke. As he recovered he got pneumonia on January 24 that same year. A day later he died.


Robert "Birdman" Stroud

George "Machine Gun" Kelly

Al Capone

The Cells

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The Cell

In Alcatraz they separate the cell blocks into 4 different sections. Cell block A is where prisoners go if they are staying for a short period of time. Cell block B and C are the normal cells that most prisoners stay in. Then there is cell Block D which is solitary confinement which prisoners were put in if their behavior was terrible.

Cell Block B/C

These two cell blocks had a total of 338 cells, 336 of them were for prisoners and 2 were for guard staff and the restroom. The normal cell in this section was a 5 feet by 9 feet box. it contained a small sink with cold water, small bed, a hole for the toilet and a couple of shelfs to put personal items on.

Cell Block D

Cell block D is the solitary confinement section. At Alcatraz they had 6 solitary confinement cells, where prisoners could only stay for a maximum of 7 days because of the harsh conditions. In these cells they stayed in their cell for 24 hours a day except for one visit every week (if they had to stay in there for 7 days) to the courtyard alone. The only time they saw light in there was when they brought the prisoners food which was two pieces of bread and one glass of water for breakfast and lunch. This cell by far was the worst cell to be in.


Cell Block B/C


Solitary Confinement

Famous Escape tries

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During WWII John Giles was working at the dock at Alcatraz. With some help from some inmates who were working at the laundry station, he got materials to make a guard outfit. After he got it all together he put his uniform under his prisoner suit and when the time was right he hopped on a boat going back to shore. As the ride goes on the captain notices there are more people on the boat then what they started out. He immediately headed for the ferry to get off. As John got onto the ferry, he didn't notice they had caught him but as soon as he turns around the officer has a pair of handcuffs waiting for him. Giles was the closest person to shore than any other inmate. Prisoners started to call him "Sarge". He lost the opportunity to work at a job for 1 year then after he was assigned the worst job ever, running the incinerator.

Bloodiest escape ever

On May 2, 1946 six prisoners took control of some guards and got access to the gun gallery at the end of the hall. The way this happened was one prisoner stayed on a diet to slim through the bars which were only about 9 inches apart after he used a bar spreader to spread the bars farther apart. After that he overpowered a guard and took his key and gun. He unlocked 6 of the prisoners and they took over more guards, locked them up in there cells and killed two of them. Their plan was to get to the exercise yard, shoot the guard then swim to shore. Shortly after they locked the guards up, U.S. Marines came in and threw tear gas in the building to help secure the prisoners. Marines came through the ceiling and killed 3 of the 6 prisoners. Two of the three remaining were put in the electric chair and the other had a life sentence in jail.

The Great Escape

There have been 36 people who have tried to escape in 14 different attempts but the best escape try occurred on June 11, 1962. The plan of the prisoners was to drill a 6 by 10 in hole in the wall so they could squeeze through and go to the utility corridor right behind there cells. From there they would climb the water pipes and go to the roof. Once there they would sneak into the water and swim to freedom. So this is how they did this amazing task. First they stole spoons, hacksaw blades, and small metal pieces to make a hole to fit in. With the help of other prisoners they also got a paddle and pieces of rubber to make a rubber raft to float to shore. They also made paper-mache models as there own heads. Then during the day the prisoners would put the broken concrete pieces in the pockets to dump them out. After lights were out on June 11 they were ready to make there move. They put there head models on a pello and stuffed clothes underneath to trick the guards into thinking they were still there. After everything was set the inmates took off. they went through the holes they made. then went to the utility corridor, from there they climbed up the water pipes, and then got on the roof. Once on the roof they went to a drainpipe, slipped past the guard in the tower and went into the brutal waters. instead of using the flotation device for a raft they used it as raincoats. The guards didn't discover that these men were gone until the morning wake up call when the guard poked at the prisoners head and it fell to the ground, Immediately the sirens went off. No one saw these men ever again, later they found a body with a blue shirt which the prisoners were wearing but it was to decomposed to identify it. So maybe one or two prisoners made it to saftey but know one knows if they made it to shore or died before they got there.