You’ve probably heard of Alcatraz, and maybe you’ve visited…but how much do you really know about the infamous Federal prison?
There is a motto that goes: “You break the rules and you go to prison, break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz.” Alcatraz housed the country’s most dangerous criminals. Even so, it held less than one percent of the total Federal prison population.
Established in 1934 in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was home to some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals around at the time: Al Capone, jailed for tax evasion; George “Machine Gun” Kelly, locked up for kidnapping; and Robert Stroud, “The Bird Man of Alcatraz,” jailed for murder. And those are just a few!
Escape attempts from Alcatraz rarely happened, because there wasn’t much of anywhere to go. Leave the prison and the choppy, cold waters of the bay surround you. There were 14 known escape attempts from Alcatraz total, involving 36 prisoners. Most were captures, some were shot and killed, two drowned, and the rest were missing—but presumed to have drowned.
After 29 years of operation, the prison closed its doors in 1963. In 1972, it became a National Park. Walk through Alcatraz today and you’ll be reminded of its violent past. When it comes to safety and security, would you have had what it takes to survive?
(Click on the image for full view)