Alcatraz Island: A Brief History

explanatory Essay
1597 words
1597 words

With the new prison, the U.S. Army ran a rather mild institution with minimum security. “Prisoners spent their days working and learning…Many prisoners worked as gardeners while a select few were employed as babysitters for the children of prison officers (Mahaney, Erin. History and Facts about Alcatraz.
The Great Depression of the 1930s resulted in the already pricey expenses to run the army barracks to almost double. The current prisoners were departed to other prisons in Kansas and New Jersey. In 1933, the Army deserted the prison.

Alcatraz would continue as a prison for more than 100 years, but just under a different control…

Federal Penitentiary
Alcatraz was obtained by the federal bureau of prisons in 1934; the bureau decided to open a “maximum security-minimum privilege prison [for housing America’s most rebellious and uncontrollable inmates- not necessarily those who committed the rather most reprehensible/egregious crimes]…to show the law-abiding public that the Federal Government was serious about stopping the rampant crime of the…1930s” (Alcatraz Origins 2). The location of the island was surely an ideal one, for it was an extreme factor in the maximum security of Alcatraz prison – the island was surrounded by freezing waters and isolated miles from any other land.
As the federal penitentiary was established, a strict daily routine was arranged for the convicts that would soon start to arrive at the prison. The continuing daily cycle arranged for the Alcatraz inmates was designed to get them to follow prison rule. “Once prison officials felt an inmate would no longer pose a threat” (Alcatraz Origins 3), and could not only follow prison rules but would be able to act civi...

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...pport the Occupation.
As time went on, the Native American leadership couldn’t control all of the people that were on the island. Damage started to occur on the island, including several forms of vandalism such as graffiti and a fire that destroyed the Alcatraz lighthouse, the old Warden’s home, and the correctional officer social club. Most of the Native Americans left the Island.
On June 1971 Federal Marshalls removed what was left of the once large group.
In 1972 Alcatraz Island became part of the National Park Service Unit. Some repairs were made before the island opened to the public in fall of 1973, and some of the damages were kept, being mostly the vandalism, to show tourists that there were once people other than prisoners inhabiting the island.
Alcatraz Island is a “prominent tourist magnet,”( and receives about one million visitors per year.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the u.s. army ran a mild institution with minimal security. many prisoners worked as gardeners and babysitters for the children of prison officers.
  • Explains that the army deserted alcatraz in 1933. the federal bureau of prisons decided to open a maximum security-minimum privilege prison for america's rebellious and uncontrollable inmates.
  • Explains the daily routine arranged for alcatraz inmates was designed to get them to follow prison rules. harsh punishments were given if a prisoner possessed bad behavior.
  • Explains that alcatraz housed several famous convicts such as alvin karpis and alaskan murderer robert stroud.
  • Explains that alcatraz island was home to the prison staff and their families, which was ensible since it would be complicated for guards to board an island ferry to go to and from work every day.
  • Explains that alcatraz prison guards received extensive training in prison procedures and regulations, self defense, conflict resolution, legal requirements, marksmanship, rehabilitation, investigation techniques, bureau policies, and the history of law enforcement.
  • Explains that alcatraz was not bad of a prison if inmates behaved well. there were privileges for those who earned it through hard work and good behavior.
  • Explains that baseball was a popular talk among the inmates, while softball was played during recreation time. inmates formed their own teams, from amateur to league teams.
  • Explains how alcatraz's one man per cell policy, good food, radio jacks in prison cells, and privileges appealed to convicts who asked to be moved there.
  • Explains that some inmates were fine with spending their sentence on alcatraz, but others wanted to leave early and planned escapes.
  • Analyzes how six inmates overpowered cell house officers to obtain the keys that they had. the keys were not able to open the front door to leave the prison, and no other prisoners would help them.
  • Narrates how morris, the anglins, and west crafted a messily made water raft out of raincoats and each of them created an actual head from clay and real hair from the barber shop.
  • Explains that the alcatraz federal penitentiary was three times more expensive to operate than any other federal prison.
  • Explains that the federal government figured it would be more cost effective to build another maximum security prison somewhere else than to keep alcatraz prison open.
  • Describes how alcatraz's prisoners were downsized and transferred to another institution. native american activists took over the island in 1969, citing an 1868 treaty.
  • Explains that thousands of people came to alcatraz to support the native american occupation, including hippies, celebrities, school kids, vietnam war protesters, and others.
  • Explains that the native american leadership couldn't control all of the people that were on the island. vandalism and fire destroyed alcatraz lighthouse, warden's home, and correctional officer social club.
  • Explains that alcatraz island became part of the national park service unit in 1972. some repairs were made before the island opened to the public in fall of 1973.

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