top of page
U.S. Penitentiary - ALCATRAZ
a.k.a. 'The Rock' - (1934 - 1963)
HOSPITAL WARD ROOM
1962 ESCAPE CELL AIR-VENTS
D-BLOCK - 'DARK-CELLS'
FIVE-FOOT BY NINE-FOOT CELLS
'SPOOKY' PRISON HOSPITAL
Early Years - 'Broadway'
B-BLOCK -'Michigan Avenue'
Later Years - Cell w 'Con Art'
CHECKERS FOR ONE . . .
America's 'Most Dangerous'
Robert Stroud -'Birdman of Alcatraz
- 17 Years on 'the Rock' - MURDER
Aaron Burgette - Died In Escape Attempt
John Anglin - '62 Escapee
'Billy' BOGGS -Heroin Smuggling
Frank Morris - 1962 Escapee
BEN RAYBORN -'JAILHOUSE LAWYER'
FLOYD MANN - Survived Stabbing
'WILLIE' RADKAY - #666AZ
CLYDE JOHNSON, Failed twice!
MORTEN SOBELL - ESPIONAGE
FORREST TUCKER, Bank Robber
ALVIN 'CREEPY' KARPIS - 26 YEARS!
COURTNEY TAYLOR - Counterfieting
BERNARD COY- DIED IN BREAK-OUT
AL CAPONE - 10 YEAR SENTENCE
BILL 'BAD-BOY' BAKER - ESCAPES
ROBERT SCHIBLINE, BANK ROBBERY
Prison Life on 'the Rock'
STANDARD PRISON CELL
'ROAD TOWER' - w 'YARD' WALL
PRISON BARBER SHOP
ISOLATION CELL - 'THE HOLE'
'MESS HALL' - 'CHOW' LINE
'STAIRWAY TO HELL'- THE DUNGEONS
The HISTORY of 'the ROCK'!
Opened for the first group of Federal Prisoners in August 1934, the history of this infamous island - as home to a prison for troublesome men - goes back nearly eighty years prior.
The U.S. Army 'turned over the keys' to the newly created U.S. Bureau of Prisons in 1933, after keeping military prisoners - mostly U.S. Soldiers - here since 1859*.
*see Fort Alcatraz page
The Bureau of Prisons spent most of a year - and millions of dollars renovating the massive 500 cell Prison Building - adding six lofty gun-towers, metal detectors and high-fences topped with razor wire.
U.S. Penitentiary - Alcatraz, aka to become known as 'the Rock', would be staffed with experienced 'Correctional Officers' and Administrative staff culled from other federal and state prisons, including it's first Warden, James A. Johnston - who had run California's San Quentin State Prison, and would earn one of the first colorful nicknames given by the 'Con's - 'Saltwater' Johnston. Evidently, Warden Johnston experimented with using bay water to flush the toilets in the prison cells.
Warden Johnston was somewhat of a prison 'reformer' - fancied being known as the 'Golden Rule Warden' - for rewarding prisoners with sentence reductions for working, and for staying out of additional trouble. He also was known as a a strict 'enforcer' - who had presided over prisoner executions by hanging - while serving at San Quentin, aka ...'the Q'.
Johnston created the fabled and never wavering 'Alcatraz Routine' served up to the first prisoners arriving here from the other, and much more lenient, federal 'Pens', like U.S.P.-Leavenworth and U.S.P- Atlanta. This would be America's first 'Super-High Maximum-Security' Federal Prison and it would live up to that distinction in many ways.
(work in progress, to be continued)
bottom of page