Al Capone was among the most notorious gangsters of all time. During Prohibition, he live the fast life, rolling in money, and also committed crime after crime he thought he’d gain away with. But he was headed to a place just as infamous as he to be — Alcatraz — 22 acres of pure self-control in the middle of the chilly mountain Francisco Bay.

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When Spanish lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala, one of the first Europeans to sail through golden Gate, saw Yerba Buena Island in respectable of 1775 he called it the Isla de los Alcatraces, which equates to The Island of the Pelicans. This is since of all the brown pelicans de Ayala saw, but the name later morphed into Alcatraz.

In 1847, a army prison was constructed on Alcatraz, which opened up in the 1850s. The island was also the residence to the very first lighthouse on the West Coast, in 1854. That wasn’t till August 11, 1934 the the Alcatraz we all know concerned be. It to be a federal prison, a concrete and steel box that obtained notoriety because that containing the worst criminals. Native 1934 to 1963, 1,576 hardened criminals, including maker Gun Kelly, “Birdman that Alcatraz” Robert Stroud, and Al Capone, referred to as “The Rock” home.

In 1972, Alcatraz became component of the nationwide Recreation Area, ~ a two year occupation (1969 — 1971) by a team of indigenous American activists, led by Mohawk Richard Oakes. The team cited a 1868 treaty the granted unoccupied commonwealth land to aboriginal Americans as an inspiration and right to take end the island. The wasn’t till 1986 the Alcatraz became a National historic Landmark, and today it offer as one of San Francisco’s main tourist attractions. Each year the Escape indigenous Alcatraz Triathlon difficulties athletes to execute what was as soon as deemed impossible–swim from the island come the shores of mountain Francisco.


Alphonse Gabriel Capone, a.k.a. Scarface (a nickname given after a fight, as soon as his confront was sliced with a blade), was destined to come to be an Alcatraz inmate. His life the crime started as a child, when he ran with street gangs. At 20, he moved to Chicago, a town he quickly ended up being the boss of. By 1924, bootlegging, prostitution, gambling, murder, and also — some say, bullying world for security money — was making the $100,000 a week. It is estimated that his network worth today would it is in $1.3 billion. To balance out this, Al Capone would give back to the ar regularly. He to be idolized through many, however others want to watch him behind bars.

Capone live a life the crime, committing every little thing from bootlegging to murder. For this reason what to be it that acquired him sent out to the toughest jail in the U.S.A.? taxes evasion.

In 1931, Al Capone was tried and also convicted of not paying taxes, in an initiative by authorities to lastly put that behind bars because that a lengthy time. Sentenced come 11 years in commonwealth prison, he an initial served time at the federal Penitentiary in Atlanta. Through bribing the guards, he lived in a cell with amenities various other prisoners didn’t get.

But, the was decided that he necessary reforming, therefore was moved to Alcatraz on respectable 22, 1934, v the very first group that inmates to remain on The Rock. Inmate AZ #85 was 35 years old. He immediately tried to assert his dominance and also bribe his means to control. Alcatraz’s first warden, James A. Johnston, shut under that idea, to which Capone said: “It looks prefer Alcatraz has actually me licked.”

The jail wasn’t always dreary. Johnston believed that having good food would keep inmates native rioting. Three meals were offered a day, and prisoners could get much more servings if castle finished your previous plate. One inmate was kept in each cell, which to be safer. Monthly movie were shown for those exhibiting good behavior, too as access to a 15,000 book library, and also 75 newspaper subscriptions. Al Capone played banjo in the absent Islanders, one inmate band. Indigenous is over there were prisoners who asked to be transferred to The Rock because that these perks.


According to inmate Robert Victor Luke, Capone to be treated favor everyone rather at Alcatraz. Boredom to be detrimental to inmates and also usually led to acquiring in trouble and also having to remain in segregation, or ‘the hole’. Luke felt the reading and the recreation garden were not enough to save inmates happy. He additionally stated that assaults on other prisoners usually taken place in the shower head room. Capone was not immune from together attacks. In 1936, James “Tex” Lucas stabbed Al Capone with half a pair of scissors in the prison barber shop. Luke claims Capone beat Lucas v his banjo in retaliation.

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Al Capone served a complete of 4 ½ years at Alcatraz. That was enduring from permanent exposure to syphilis, which started to impact his brain, and also was moved to Terminal Island prison in southern California because that the remainder the his sentence. Capone left Alcatraz top top January 6, 1939. Rumor has it that you have the right to hear the ghostly sound of Capone playing his banjo at Alcatraz to this day.

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