Alcatraz Island (The Prison)

Alcatraz Island was opened from 1934 to 1963. At that time it was the last stop in the federal penitentiary pipeline. It housed famous criminals such as Al “Scar face” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Stroud, “The Birdman of Alcatraz” (American Automobile Association 81). The warden, James Johnston, turned it into such a brutal place that even the most hardened criminals started calling it “Hellcatraz”. That raises the question was Alcatraz’s brutality essential, or just plain cruel?
Located on a twenty-two acre island in San Francisco Bay, about a half mile off shore (National Geographic), Alcatraz was built out of an old military fort. It consisted of a cell house, the old ...

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Coming back from work inmates were checked eleven times and had to get through three metal detectors. Then in their cells they were counted up to thirty times a day (Stuller 87).
Well-behaved inmates could spend their Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching a movie or in the recreation yard. In the yard they could lounge about, lift weights, play in a softball game, or sit down to a game of chess, dominoes, or bridge.

A typical day went like this: At 6:30 AM you wake up to a loud clang of the prison alarm bell. You crawl out of bed just as a guard walks by your cell taking the first count of the day. Then you have twenty minutes to brush your teeth, get dressed, and make your bed. You lounge around and wait for your fifteen-man group to get called to breakfast. You spend twenty minutes in the mess hall, hoping the tear gas canisters above your head don’t “malfunction” and go off (Corrections 54). Then you return to your cell while everyone else eats. You then go down to ...

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three prisoners, an extremely high ratio. There were about one hundred other prisons employees. It could hold two hundred seventy-five prisoners. The cells were five feet by nine feet, less space than many animal shelters give a dog.

Because nobody was ever sent directly to Alcatraz (they had to earn their way there by being a threat in other prisons), Alcatraz was filled with horrible criminals. Upon arrival inmates were stripped, showered and searched. This was meant to deflate their egos. Then they were given thin, plain coveralls, and sent directly into the main population.

Inmates who misbehaved had some privileges taken away. If they continued to be bad, they were put in the D ...

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Alcatraz Island (The Prison). (2004, March 19). Retrieved January 21, 2019, from
"Alcatraz Island (The Prison).", 19 Mar. 2004. Web. 21 Jan. 2019. <>
"Alcatraz Island (The Prison)." March 19, 2004. Accessed January 21, 2019.
"Alcatraz Island (The Prison)." March 19, 2004. Accessed January 21, 2019.
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Added: 3/19/2004 05:43:15 AM
Category: Geography
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1312
Pages: 5

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