Alcatraz – Part 1 – The Warden and the Rock

– The Recurring Problem of Crime – Anastasia Scott’s 47 Minute Swim – The Bureau Takes Over the Island – A Kingpin’s V8 and the Cook County Sheriff – Kansas Union Transfer Massacre and Dead Public Enemies – Moving Furniture –

As dusk settled on the era of prohibition, the United States was in the midst of a crime wave that spread across the nation. Would be bootleggers turned their attention to other vice trades including holdups, bank robberies and kidnappings. The introduction of powerful getaway cars and high capacity Thompson submachine guns allowed criminals to outrun and outgun the law.

FDR’s New Deal program created public works projects with the hope they would help move the nation out of the Great Depression that hit the economy in 1929. A part of this program would be to focus on stopping cross-state crimes that were the calling card of the modern gangster and bank robbers. Laws were created for this purpose and their enforcement would be left to a small, then unknown agency, that would eventually become the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

As the Federal Prison population swelled and the prisoner’s names became more infamous, there was a clear need for a place to house the worst of the worst from across the nation. The opening of Alcatraz Federal Prison signified a major change in the way the U.S. Government handled mobsters and outlaws. The reign of gangsters bootlegging, running brothels, speakeasies, protection rackets, gambling wires and cold blooded gangland killings were coming to an end. Most of the criminals would not survive being hunted by the law, but many of those that did would find themselves in the state-of-the-art prison: Alcatraz.

Attorney General Homer Cummings. Along with FDR, helped push for the further the power of the FBI by creating a series of new laws that made kidnapping, crossing state lines with stolen goods and bank robbery federal laws. He would come upon Alcatraz in 1933 and convert the island to house the new class of federal inmates.
Alcatraz in 1920, thirteen years prior to being taken over by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Warden James A. Johnston. Warden of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary from 1933-1948.
After math of the Kansas City Massacre – June 17, 1933.
Al Capone and U.S. Marshall Henry C.W. Laubenheimer playing cards during prison transport from Chicago to Atlanta.
Map of Alcatraz Island.
Mess Hall (1950s) being inspected by a guard before prisoners are brought in.
The chow line in the mess hall of Alcatraz.
Inmates enjoying recreation time on the yard.
A guard looks over the yard.
A cell on Alcatraz

“It was the toilet paper I use first because , after the long trip, I need to sit on the “crapper”. I look across the corridor to see most of the guys doing the same thing. It’s a strange situation for all of us, takin a shit while staring at someone else a few feet away doing likewise, but just one of the things we will have to become used to.” – Alvin Karpis, “On the Rock”

Alcatraz 

Episode 1: Fortifying the Island

1933-1934

– The Recurring Problem of Crime – Anastasia Scott’s 47 Minute Swim – 

The Bureau Takes Over the Island – A Kingpin’s V8 and the Cook County Sheriff – 

– Kansas Union Transfer Massacre and Public Enemy #1s –

– “The Crapper”– Moving Furniture –

Transcript:

Intro:

As dusk settled on the era of prohibition, the United States was in the midst of a crime wave that spread across the nation. Would be bootleggers turned their attention to other vice trades including holdups, bank robberies and kidnappings. The introduction of powerful getaway cars and high capacity Thompson submachine guns allowed criminals to outrun and outgun the law.

FDR’s New Deal program created public works projects with the hope they would help move the nation out of the Great Depression that hit the economy in 1929. A part of this program would be to focus on stopping inter-state crimes that were the calling card of the modern criminal. Laws were created for this purpose and their enforcement would be left to a small, then unknown agency, that would eventually be rebranded the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

As the Federal Prison population swelled and the prisoner’s names became more infamous, there was a clear need for a place to house the worst of the worst from across the nation. The opening of Alcatraz Federal Prison signified a major change in the way the U.S. Government handled mobsters and outlaws. The reign of gangsters bootlegging, running brothels, speakeasies, protection rackets, gambling wires and cold blooded gangland killings were coming to an end. Most of the criminals would not survive being hunted, but many of those that did would find themselves in the state-of-the-art prison: Alcatraz.

1.

“’The Recurring Problem of Crime.’: For some time I have desired to obtain a place of confinement to which could be sent our more dangerous, intractable criminals. You can appreciate, therefore, with what pleasure I make public the fact that such a place has been found. By negotiation with the War Department we have obtained the use of Alcatraz Prison, located on a precipitous island in San Francisco Bay, more than a mile from shore. The current is swift and escapes are practically impossible. It has secure cells for 600 persons. It is in excellent condition and admirably fitted for the purpose I had in mind. Here may be isolated the criminals of the vicious and irredeemable type so that their evil influence may not be extended to other prisoners who are disposed to rehabilitate themselves.” – U.S. Attorney General Cummings radio address, October 12, 1933

FDR’s Attorney General Homer Cummings, was a Chicago-born progressive and had previously help three terms as the mayor of Stamford Connecticut. Cummings was tasked with building a model prison to house the worst criminals. 

Cummings had originally chosen a small island in Alaska for a new state-of-the-art prison. On the boat trip back, Cummings would spot the Disciplinary Barracks on Alcatraz as they passed the San Francisco Bay. The island had been a Military Prison during the Civil War. Later it was converted to a fortress and then the disciplinary barracks that was in place when Cummings happened to pass by on his trip.

There was a great deal of skepticism when the plans were announced to the public.

San Francisco Chronicle October 20th, 1933:  “According to officials in Washington, Alcatraz was selected as a gangster prison because it is surrounded by “deep rushing waters and is 100 percent escape proof.”… Early this week these same officials were startled to learn Anastasia Scott, 17-year-old-girl, had successfully undertaken the swim in 47 minutes.” The Chronicle reported the protests by Women’s Clubs from across northern California. They publicized more women who had swam across the bay on multiple locations as proof that escapes were possible. 

The concerns weren’t limited to escapes however. The Chronicle also reported that locals worried about having their towns being over run by gangsters who would flock to be near their leaders to take orders. They noted the proximity to state universities and how detrimental the criminal element would be for the students. Think of the children!

2.

Despite the public’s protests the Department of War turned over the island to the Prison Bureau and AG Cummings was eager to get started.. The Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Sanford Bates, was put in charge of reinforcing the island. Bate’s and Cummings first task was to hire a warden. They found their man in James A. Johnston the former warden of Folsom and then San Quentin. Johnston left San Quentin in 1924 due to the new Governor of California wanting to reward the job as a political favor to one of his men. 

Johnston’s reputation was publicly outstanding, to say the least. When he left, or was pushed out of San Quentin, officials and newspapers raved about his performance over the past 12 years. In 1924 the San Francisco Examiner reflected on Johnston’s time as Warden “there never was a warden in all California’s history who remotely approached him in sheer ability, insight and achievement….California had always treated its convicts as men deliberately bad, requiring punishment: as willful enemies of society… Johnston perceived that the problem of the criminal was psychological and social.”

It continued, “Observe that the idea of punishment is altogether foreign to this attitude… Medical men do not punish the diseased. They seek to cure… San Quentin today is a sort of university and health-center combined.” While Johnston was Warden at San Quentin the recidivism rate (prisoners who returned to the prison for new crimes) drastically decreased. 

Warden Johnston would arrive for work on the island on January 2, 1934. The first order of business was to reinforce the prison building that was erected in 1909. The criminal’s that had been housed there in the past were usually military prisoner’s. They would have been much less prone to escapes. The men who would arrive at Alcatraz would be facing long, difficult sentences and would certainly be on the look out for any gaps in security.

To combat future escape plots, Warden Johnston would pace the island looking for any improvements to physical or operational security. Tool proof bars were installed on half the cells. Gun galleries were installed on two ends of the prison unit. Six guard tower’s were erected, strategically across the island. Barbed wire was strung along the walls around the work area and all across the shore line. Tunnels were checked for seams and either locked or filled with brick and mortar.

Connection to the mainland was somewhat limited. There would be three phone lines that had incoming connections to the island from across the bay. Outgoing calls could only be made from the captain’s office. There were several occasios when Alcatraz lost it’s phone line due to ships anchoring and cutting the phone line.  A large sign was installed reading “Cable Crossing. Do Not Anchor.” On occasions when the cable was disturbed, two way short wave radios were used to keep in contact with the mainland. 

Warden Johnston was summoned back to Washington once work on the island was nearly complete. He met with Attorney General Cummings and Director of Prisons, Sanford Bates in order to iron out the details of Alcatraz. Johnston summarizes the goals put forth during the that meeting: 

“They wanted to make sure it would be tight enough to hold men who had already achieved notoriety by escaping from other prisons. They wanted a firm rein over men who had defied regulations and abused privileges in other prisons. They wanted to deflate “big shots” and exhibitionists who seemed to glory in their bad reputation… What it boiled down to in essence was that Alcatraz would be a prison of maximum custody with minimum privileges.” (Johnston).

The other issue that was discussed in Washington was how inmates would be selected for transfer to Alcatraz from other state penitentiaries. They agreed to work with wardens and classification committees from other institutions to determine the worst prisoner’s. These prisoner’s included men with large criminal networks who could attempt to be sprung from prison. Men with long wrap sheets. Men whose reputation’s drew attention to the prisons. Men wanted by multiple jurisdictions. Escapees and attempted escapees. Rioters and ring-leaders. Men with histories of violence against officers and other inmates would also be transferred to Alcatraz. Johnston wrote “they would select their worst; I would take them and do my best.” (Johnston)

The initial staffing of Alcatraz was supervised by Warden Johnston. Johnston and Bates wanted a well trained and career oriented prison staff. They created training classes on the McNeil Island, Lewisburg, Leavenworth and Atlanta prison. The first class of new recruits, however, was trained in New York. “For several weeks they were put through a rigorous course of physical training – gymnastics, setting up exercises, marching, drilling, boxing, wrestling, jujitsu, use of gas, handling firearms. They listened to lectures on sociology, psychology, penology, criminology and behaviorism.” (Johnston) These guards would be making a regular prison guards salary, but were locked in with the worst prisoners from across the country with no access to weapons, on  a remote island. 

Johnston continues: 

“Most of the questions indicated that the student officers were more interested in every day problems of practical management in dealing with the inmates that in sociological theories.

They wanted to know how we controlled the prisoner’s, how we punished them, what we did to them when they refused to work, when they attacked each other, or had contraband articles, or were discovered plotting or violating rules.

From the way they worded the questions and the way in which they explained them in discussion it was evident that when they came to the island they expected to see prisoners being severely punished for minor infractions therefore their surprise when they noted what they considered fair treatment.” (Johnston)

The guards preoccupation with punishment was clear prior to arriving on the island. Bate’s and Johnston planned to keep this impulse checked through rigorous rules and regulations for both the prisoners as well as the guards. Rumors would spread from the island of the poor treatment of the prisoner’s and perhaps writing his reflections later Johnston was attempting to both clear himself as well as the prison of any violent or unjust acts.. 

Johnston would continue to describe the purpose of discipline to Alcatraz:

“When discussing discipline for prisoners we should keep in mind the purpose of the prison. Alcatraz is reserved by the government for perplexing problem prisoners and organized on the basis of maximum security with every precaution taken to insure safe-keeping of prisoners and to prevent possibility of escape…

Privileges are limited, supervision is strict, routine is exacting, discipline in firm, but there is no cruelty or undue harshness, and we insist upon a decent regard for the humanities…

“Discipline in the sense of training is more important than discipline that is synonymous with punishment.”

With the staff hired and trained, the island surrounded by barbed wire and gun towers and all seams checked, the island was secured and ready for inspection. 

2.

Attorney General Cummings was on hand on August 18, 1934, to give the final approval on his pet project that would soon become known as “The Rock”. Just months earlier, in May, AG Cummings was inspecting another Federal prison in Atlanta. There were wide spread rumors on an inmate buying off guards, smuggling drugs into the prison and generally being treated better than the other inmates. Murmurs of bribes had gone all the way to the House of Representatives through the spread of a gangster obsessed media, parroting stories of former prisoners. Cummings, however, found no grounds for these rumors.  

The inmate in question was Chicago racketeer and mobster Alphonse “Scarface” Capone. There was a basis for this rumor, years ago when Capone was locked up in the Cook County Jail during his original sentencing and imprisonment. From his cell in Chicago, Capone ran his entire outfit, wore his own custom suites, silk underwear, had prostitutes brought in and conducted business meetings with his associates from the outside. Although, unable to leave Capone had a good setup for business in the jail. He was given what amounted to a private suite and all the protection he could ever want. 

When news leaked out from Cook County jail, a local FBI investigator, followed by the then Attorney General George E. Q. Johnson began work investigating the situation in Chicago. After talking with the Cook County warden and other employees of the jail, both the FBI and Attorney General decided that the rumors were unfounded and that Capone was being treated just like everyone else in the jail. 

Just a week after the investigation was dropped a reporter for the Lincoln Evening Courier in the small town of Lincoln, Illinois ran the plates on a car that had broken down. The souped up 16 cylinder car stood out in the small rural town when the reporter took notice. The car had been traveling back to Chicago from Springfield when it stalled on the side of the road. The driver was the Warden of Cook County. Once the reporter had the information back on the car, the story became a little clearer. The car came back as owned by Mae Capone, the wife of Al. 

The Lincoln Evening Courier ran the story and it lead to new investigations of Cook County Jail. The warden was ultimately found to have no knowledge of the car being Capone’s but the suspicion of payoffs and special treatment followed Capone all the way to Atlanta Penitentiary when Cummings made his investigations in 1934. 

2.

While Capone was locked up in Cook County beginning in 1931 and then Atlanta in May 1932, the violence that began in the 20’s swelled. Kidnappings and violent shootouts with the cops were on the rise and there were new names of young gangsters in the headlines of newpapers. The FBI would be given new powers to name, track, capture or kill those that were deemed “Public Enemies”. 

The term was first used by Chicago Crime Commission’s chairman, Frank Lloyd to  create newspaper headlines about the growing crime problem in Chicago in 1931. The first list was created by him locally and at the top of that list was was Capone. 

A new designation would be created Public Enemy #1. Of the four men ever named Public Enemy #1, three would be killed by law enforcement in 1934, the same year Alcatraz opened. These men unlike Capone, weren’t mobsters, rather they were professional criminals. John Dillenger would be slain in July 1934 after a crime spree with his Terror Gang across the midwest. Baby Face Nelson,  would terrorize the new FBI agency, killing three agents. Nelson’s run would end when he had a shootout with the FBI in Barrington, in November of 1934 leaving him dead.

Pretty Boy Floyd was another bank robber of the post-Capone era crime wave. His crimes included a string of bank robberies up and down the midwest. He would go on to kill several police while on the run. Floyd would garner more public notoriety when he was linked to the shocking Union Transfer Massacre in Kansas City on June 17th 1933.

The Union Transfer Massacre, also know as the Kansas City Massacre is worth mentioning in the context of Alcatraz, because it is in many ways the start of the end of the Gangster Era, in the United States. Frank “Jelly” Nash was a horse riding train robber for most of his early criminal career. Like many pre-prohibition outlaws, Nash had to change with the times and traded in his horse and revolver for a fast car and fully auto machine gun. 

In response, the the then unknown J. Edgar Hoover made a play with FDR to gain increased power’s to track criminals over state lines. Prior to this, interstate policing was nearly impossible and bank robbers would be nearly free once they crossed state lines. 

Frank “Jelly” Nash was locked up and then escaped from Leavensworth prison. After three years on the lam, two FBI agents caught up with Nash in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Word got out to his criminal friends and plan was hatched to break Nash out during transport. Once the agents and Nash reached Kansas, they were joined by Kansas City police officers to assist in the transfer from train to the Chevrolet that would be complete the journey back to Leavensworth Prison. The criminal syndicate laid in wait.

When all parties arrived in Kansas City on June 17, 1933 there was tension in the air. The agents scouted the scene but saw nothing wrong. Nash was escorted from the train through the station with a total of seven law enforcement agents. Three gun man saw the Nash and his seven man entourage exit the station and make their way to the transport car. As FBI agent Caffrey unlocked driver’s side door, one of the men in the car noticed the gunmen lurking in addition to a machine gun. 

Without time to react, shots were fired. Who shot first is still up for debate historians of the era. The car would be riddled with bullets. Two Kansas City police officers were struck by bullets dying immediately on the scene. The driver, FBI Agent Caffrey was hit as well and would later die on the way to the hospital. 

The three mysterious gunmen would approach the smoking car and access the situation, noting the dead law men and the lifeless body of the man they came to break out Frank Nash were all dead.

 “They’re all dead, let’s get out of here,” one of the gun men yelled to his accomplices. 

This tragic killing demonstrated the power of crime syndicates and the inability to control them in the 1930’s. In the aftermath the FBI would be allowed for the first time to carry firearms and make arrests of criminals. With these new power’s they would track and kill Pretty Boy Floyd, for his presumed involvement in the Union Transfer Massacre. 

With the new laws, firepower and arrest powers given to the FBI, they would went to work creating and erasing Public Enemies.

3.

While Capone was locked up in Cook County beginning in 1931 and then Atlanta in May 1932, violence swelled as the repercussion of the depression set in. Desperate men made the headlines of newspapers. Bank robberies, kidnappings and murder were all on the rise. The public was in fear they would get caught up in the violence. With the top public enemies on the lam or exterminated, Alcatraz needed a few test cases to make their appeal to the public.

The Capone biographer, Lawrence Bergreen writes, “The super penal colony required a supply of super criminals equal to its reputation. John Dillenger would have been among the first to be assigned there, but he was already dead, as were so many other gangsters and badmen who had inspired Cummings to create Alcatraz in the first place. In their absence the slightly older Capone filled the bill quite nicely.” 

By 1934 Al Capone was beginning his mental descent due to syphilis that he had contracted as a young man. Most times he acted like a feeble child with grandiose dreams of his high ranking friends finally breaking him out of prison. He would often complain about how his high powered attorney’s weren’t doing enough to get him out of prison, or how his old associates weren’t greasing the wheels of politician’s sufficiently. Capone was truly a shell of his former self. 

It was this Capone that would be roused out of his cell on the night of August 18th, the same day Cummings gave final approval for Alcatraz. His cellmate, Red Rudensky recalls that night: Capone refused to leave his cell without knowing where he was being taken. When he was told he was going to see the warden he still refused to leave. As he was arguing with the guards other prisoner’s were yelling for him to keep quiet, until a voice from another cell shouted “You’re going to the Rock, Al!.” Rudensky remembered seeing “all the fire and hate and strength and torment erupt suddenly. He was all power and anger as he leaped at the nearest guard, shouting obscenities.” Rudensky joined the fight but was knocked out and when he came to, Capone was gone.

As the 18th turned to the 19th, Capone along with fifty three of Atlanta’s worst prisoner’s were boarded onto specially reinforced trains for transfer to an officially unknown destination. Although the passengers and the press weren’t notified, everyone knew this train was headed for the new super max prison in the San Francisco Bay. With the echoes of the Kansas City Massacre in the air, the Prison Bureau and the railroads worked together to create an airtight plan. 

They began by finding suitable locations for stops along the way. At each stop armed guards would protect the train while the inmates were shackled to their chairs and handcuffed. The public, the press and other prison officials were kept out of the loop when it came to where the train would stop in addition to it’s final destination.

Warden Johnston would take a launch named the McDowell from Alcatraz to Tiburon to meet the incoming prisoners. Tiburon was chosen as the transfer spot in order to draw less publicity than if they had terminated their trip in Oakland. A barge was waiting for the prison cars to arrive. Once loaded onto the barge, a heavily armed coast guard ship escorted the three specially made prison trains to the docks of Alcatraz. 

Handcuffed in pairs, leg shackles removed, sweaty and stinking from the long ride from Atlanta the first prisoners stepped off the train.  The yard was filled with it’s new inhabitants. Featuring sweeping views of the the bay and the city, the yard would be a constant reminder to the inmates of the freedom just a swim away. 

From the moment they stepped off the train the new inmates were surrounded by guards on the ground and armed COs watching from their tower’s above. Escorted by guards who had made the trip from Atlanta, two by two, pairs of inmates were announced by name and brought into the cell house from the yard. Warden Johnston, waiting at a table to meet the his new prisoners, would note their prison sentence, give them their number and turn them over to a guard for further processing. 

Johnsto n would later write that when the convicts were removed from the trains he immediately recognized Al Capone from all photos in the newspapers. Capone, whispering to the other lined up inmates caught the wardens attention. Once Capone’s turn came, he approached the warden and began small talk. Johnston would have no part of it. He gave Capone his number and sent him along his way to the next step of intake. 

After the hand over from Atlanta to Alcatraz, a guard would walk the man to the bathing room where they were stripped naked and showered. The medical examiner of the island would then administer ad Wassermann test for antibodies (including syphilis) and check the inmates with a thorough orifice inspection. 

The Wassermann test would confirm Capone’s earlier diagnosis of syphilis. Healthcare was not the only purpose of these invasive exams. Warden Johnston later noted “ I never saw a naked man yet who could maintain any sort of dignity.” The stripping nude and searching of orifices was the first of many acts to break the new prison population.

Once cleaned and inspected each man was given a card with his name, prison number and cell number written on it. The inmate was issued the following for their wardrobe on the island:  1 B&W 1 pair of pants, 1 cap, 1 wool coat, 1 blue shirt,1 belt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 bathrobe, 3 pairs of socks, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 raincoat, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 wool undershirt (on request), 1 pair of slipper and one light undershirt. All clothing issued on the island was XL.

Now the inmates were clothed, the guard escorted into the cell house to their cells. 

While walking through the cell house for the first time, a new inmate would likely notice the bright natural light from the many windows of the building. The scent of salt water from the surrounding bay filled the air. The Warden had chosen to paint the cells a mint green in an attempt to use soothing colors to lessen the harshness of prison life. Visitor’s from other jails would later remark that they had never seen such a clean, fresh smelling and well shined prison. The constant shining of the floor would often make it easy for guards and inmates alike to slip, creating another obstacle to escape. 

The main cell house consisted of four cell blocks that ran the length of the building. The cell blocks were each three tiers high, separated by long corridors named after famous streets from across America. Cell blocks A & D were not initially upgraded due to a shortage of funding. The main population of the prison was to be housed in cell blocks B and C. These two blocks were separated by a hall way dubbed “Broadway,” which lead from the administration offices straight back to the dining area. Across both far ends of the cell house gun galleries were installed, connected by catwalks that would give the guards the advantage of movement and height if they needed to put down any trouble.

At the end of Broadway was the door that lead into the mess-hall. The mess-hall was considered by staff and prisoners to be one of the most dangerous areas of the prison. Here the inmates would have metal tools for eating and also outnumber the guards by a good number. If things went wrong in the mess hall, things could go very bad, very quickly. Expecting the worst, Warden Johnston had gas canisters installed in the ceiling of the mess hall. He would tell prisoner’s that if any violence broke out, the entire mess hall would immediately fill with poisonous gas from canisters that visibly hung above their heads. The population on Alcatraz would often refer to the messhall as “the gas chamber” for this reason.

Next to the kitchen lies the yard. The yard would act as one of the few reliefs of the silence of the cell house. Despite the fun and games, the yard was a place that a con had to watch his back. Alvin Karpis would later reflect on the yard: “The central area is like a squared-off version of an old Roman arena. The years ahead are to be filled with many dangerous contests played to the death… It almost appears as if the architect foresaw the dramatic potential of the yard because… he has built in a “spectators’ gallery” of cement steps overlooking “the pit” area.” (Karpis 45).

5.

After the days of grueling travel, finally booked into the new state of the art prison an inmate would find himself in a five by nine foot cell. Each cell was furnished with a folding bed and thin mattress, a seat less toilet which faced the cell across the corridor and sat next to the head of the bed and a tiny sink that only ran cold water. Each inmate was given a copy of the rules and a run down on how they would be counted and moved from their cells. This list of rules was long and strict. One of the strictest rules was the rule-of-silence that wouldn’t be relaxed for almost 6 years.

Alcatraz was also different from other prisons in that it housed each inmate in their own cell. Other prisons would have either open day rooms where all the inmates bunked together, or they would typically have cellmate’s. A.G. Cummings and Warden Johnston made this choice early on to help prevent conspiracies of violence and mutiny. The silence and lack of cellmate weighed heavily on the prisoners in the early years. 

In their cells the inmates must have reflected not only on their journey to San Francisco, but the paths that lead ultimately led them there. Soon their mind would turn to their new surroundings, how they would be treated, how they would get along, how they could get out.

The kidnapper and gang leader, Alvin Karpis would be locked up two years after the opening of Alcatraz, but his account of the first moments in his cell were common: “It was the toilet paper I use first because , after the long trip, I need to sit on the “crapper”. I look across the corridor to see most of the guys doing the same thing. It’s a strange situation for all of us, takin a shit while staring at someone else a few feet away doing likewise, but just one of the things we will have to become used to.”

Now that the inmates were cleaned, dressed and secured to their cells, Warden Johnston took a few moments in his office to send a telegraph to Attorney General Cummings: “Fifty three crates furniture from Atlanta received in good condition-installed-no breakage.” For Capone and the fifty two other convicts from Atlanta, they were now home. 

Alcatraz References:

Books (w/ Amazon links):

Bergreen, Laurence. Capone: The Man and the Era. Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Burrough, Bryan. Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34. Penguin Book, 2005.

Denevi, Don, and Philip Bergen. Alcatraz ’46;: The Anatomy of a Classic Prison Tragedy. Leswing Press, 1974.

Johnston, Warden James A. Alcatraz Island Prison And The Men Who Live There. C. Scribner’s Sons, 1949.

Karpis, Alvin, and Robert Livesey. On the Rock: Twenty-Five Years in Alcatraz. Musson Book Co., 1980.

Quillen, Jim. Alcatraz from the Inside. Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, 1991.

Theme music“Speedy Delta” by Lobo Loco is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0