Alcatraz is infamous, and it is a place that gets thousands (if not millions) of visitors every year. They are yearning to tour the infamous jail that has held some of the world’s worst and most violent criminal offenders.
Alcatraz is also known as “the rock” and that was because the jail is situated on a rock island off the coast of San Francisco. This made it difficult for inmates to escape the jail and wreak havoc.
It was anyone’s worst nightmare to be sent here, and we can see why.
Time has aged the jail, and while it is still open for tours, it shows signs of age. Pictures can speak a thousand words and we have found 20 pictures of Alcatraz that are sure to give us all the creeps and have us obeying the law to make sure we never get sent to a place like this.
20 Morgues Are Always Creepy
We are also going to explore some interesting facts about the prison on our journey through its walls. Al Capone was one of the most well-known criminals who ever stayed behind its walls.
While he was in a different jail, Capone was able to bribe the guards for special treatment. That changed when he got to Alcatraz and he was definitely not happy.
19 Not Exactly The Place For A Relaxing Bath
Even though this jail was on an island, there was no source of fresh water anywhere on the island. That means they had to get water somehow.
They had almost a million gallons of water brought to the island every week. They also had food, gas and other supplies brought which made it very expensive to run.
18 An Escape Plan
What did a prisoner have to do to get sent to Alcatraz? Apparently, a lot. Criminals were very rarely automatically sent to Alcatraz upon sentencing, which is different than other prisons.
Usually, prisoners were sent there because they were defiant and impossible to handle. It was thought that a trip to Alcatraz was good enough to smarten them up and have them obeying.
17 That’s A Fake Head, But Why?
This is a fake head that was made by two prisoners who were a part of the last escape attempt out of Alcatraz. They drilled holes in the cell walls to reach the vents. They made fake walls to hide their work.
They also used the dummy head you see here to put in their bed, making the guards think that they were in bed. They were never found, and it is assumed they drowned.
16 This Is Where You Would Receive Medical Care
Alvin Francis “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz was one of the biggest criminals in the era of the depression.
He is also one of the few who outlasted the prison. He served the longest sentence at the prison, which was 25 years, and he actually had to be transferred to another prison to finish out his sentence.
15 Enough To Make You Obey The Laws
There is such a thing as the Alcatraz Triathlon, and it was started in 1980. This is held every year to continue to try and prove that Alcatraz was inescapable.
It consists of a 1.5-mile swim to San Francisco, an 18-mile bike ride and an 8-mile run. If you couldn’t do that, how would an inmate with no training be able to?
14 The Faces Of Alcatraz
One of the most popular activities in the jail was softball. Prisoners were allowed to engage in activity, which kept down on medical costs as it kept all the prisoners in relatively good shape.
The problem was that the teams were racially integrated and that led to scuffles at a lot of the games.
13 You Can Spend A Night Here
Since the island is only open to tours now, it has no actual humans living on it. This means that the wild has taken over the island.
Alcatraz Island is home to 5,000 birds from 9 different species. When tourists first arrive at the island, they are immediately greeted by Western gulls.
12 This Was Called Home
It was a popular myth that Alcatraz was impossible to escape, as there were cases of escaped inmates. The reason people said it was inescapable was that the island was surrounded by man-eating sharks.
This myth was actually started by the guards, though. What was dangerous to the prisoners was the extremely cold water, the strong currents and the mile-long swim to shore.
11 Never Get Sick!
This fact is really interesting. Prisoners do not often get royal treatment; they get the bare minimum. They are criminals after all.
However, Alcatraz was the only prison to offer their criminals hot showers. This was not to be nice; this was thought to prevent them from being able to escape. That they wouldn’t have a chance to get their bodies used to cold water.
10 Something Spooky About An Abandoned Hallway
Remember Al Capone we were talking about? Well, as soon as he found out how tough it was going to be at Alcatraz, he became a perfect inmate.
He was allowed to join the jailhouse band, Rock Islanders, and he played the banjo. According to a letter that he had sent his son, he could play 500 songs and had even written one of his own.
9 When The Lights Go Out
Victor Lustig was another criminal in Alcatraz, and he managed to con Capone out of $5, 000. He also tried to sell the Eiffel Tower.
He was originally sent to Alcatraz for a huge counterfeiting operation. There were a lot of criminal masterminds behind the walls of Alcatraz, not just Capone.
There is a lot of talk about whether Alcatraz is haunted or not. Some claim to have evidence, while others can not explain their feelings when they are in there.
There have been recent claims of people hearing banjo music playing from where the prisoners showered. This is where Al Capone would often play his banjo. Is he still hanging around?
7 We Hope You Like Your Neighbour
Was this anything before it was a prison? Yes, it was. Before it became the infamous jail, Alcatraz Island was the site of the very first lighthouse on the west side.
The lighthouse was built in 1852 to help guide ships through the bay. The tower was damaged during an earthquake in 1906.
6 Ghost Island
Even though they were secluded on an island made of rock, prisoners of Alcatraz were allowed to have visitors. However, the rules were very strict. They were allowed to have warden-approved visitors once a month.
There was no physical contact, their conversations were monitored, and they were not allowed to talk about current events or their prison life.
5 Lunch Is Served
Even though escaping from Alcatraz was nearly impossible, that doesn’t mean that people didn’t try. A total of 36 men had tried to escape from Alcatraz.
23 of them were recaptured and sent right back, 6 were shot, and the remaining amount was listed as missing. They have been assumed to have drowned while trying to swim away.
4 I Can Tell You That Fan Will Come In Handy
We have heard tales of people trying to escape Alcatraz, but how exactly did they do it? In 1945, one of the inmates by the name of John Giles was one who was able to jump off the rock.
He did so by stealing an army uniform from the laundry room. But he was recaptured and sent right back.
3 People Actually Wanted To Work Here
It is easy to assume that the cells were not that accommodating in Alcatraz, but just how small were they? They were barely bigger than a closet, and they measured at 5 feet by 9 feet.
If a prisoner stood in their cell and stretched their arms out, they would be able to touch the cell walls on either side. They only had room for a toilet, sink and a cot.
2 No Door On The Bathroom? Terrifying
There is a prison in Colorado that has been named the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” It is the ADX Florence Prison and it is incredibly secure. It has some of the country’s most dangerous criminals in it.
All of the prisoners are kept in solitary confinement 23 hours out of the day, and it is so secure that no one is ever going to get out.
1 It Doesn’t Even Look Real
While no one likes the sound of Alcatraz, there are some inmates who feel that it wasn’t that bad. That perhaps media portrayal of the jail has made it sound worse than it was.
According to inmate Willy Radkay, the rules were strict and enforced, but every prisoner had their own cell and privacy. He stated that they also had some protection against violence from other prisoners.