– Problem Wards with Tin Cups – A Death on the Island – “Who’s a Son of a Bitch?” – Milk Sugar and Eggs – Feeding Seagulls – Spanish Dungeons – Barbershop Sheers –
“A caged animal turns mean. If you taunt it deliberately, it becomes dangerous” – Alvin Karpis
There weren’t many ways off Alcatraz, especially in the short term. No prisoners were ever paroled out of the prison, the thought was: if you’re bad enough to be on Alcatraz, what business do you have being set loose on the public. Serving out a sentence was usually a long term prospect given the gravity of many of the inmates records.
Being stuck on Alcatraz was enough to drive a man crazy. Dreams of flight would inevitably cross a prisoner’s mind. The options were limited: get a medical transfer, serve your time, die or escape. With the additional pressures of the guards, the rule-of-silence, the threats of being locked away in a dungeon dramatically increased the thoughts of getting off the island.
Over the course of Alcatraz’s time as a Federal Prison 28 prisoners would be transferred by boats in body body bags to the morgue in San Francisco. The records kept, the guards, and those who survived sentences on Alcatraz would tell their tales.
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.
San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco 7-12 February 1936.