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Alcatraz Island: A Touristic Attraction Essay

986 words - 4 pages

“If you break the rules of society, they sent you to prison. If you break the rules of prison, they send you to Alcatraz.” -Anonymous. Once considered as the prison of all American prisons, Alcatraz held some of the most dangerous criminals in American history. Alcatraz Island opened as a prison on October twelfth, 1933. During its twenty-nine years of operation, Alcatraz held some of the most dangerous prisoners, without any known successful escape attempts. Life on the island as a prisoner was extremely rough. Due to its high cost of operation, Alcatraz Prison was forced to shut down in 1963, where all of the criminals were transferred to other prisons in America. Alcatraz opened to the public in 1973 as a tourist attraction, where it has gotten more than one million visitors a year. It is the most popular prison in America. Known as The Rock, Alcatraz island became a popular tourist attraction due to the notorious criminals that lived on the island, the famous escape attempts, and the way the inmates were forced to live.
One reason Alcatraz is such a popular tourist attraction is because of the vicious and murderous criminals that spent time on the island. One of the most famous gangsters, Al “Scarface” Capone lived on the island for five years. Al Capone was convicted and found guilty of tax evasion. From selling illegal alcohol, gambling, and prostitution, Al Capone ran a multimillion dollar empire in the 1920s. He did not care if he got into trouble. This is not too surprising for a criminal. Another very famous criminal that spent time on Alcatraz was Robert Stroud. “The most famous prisoner was Alaskan murderer Robert ‘Birdman’ Stroud, who spent seventeen years on Alcatraz” (Alcatraz-Facts and History). Robert Stroud was convicted of murder and was transferred to another prison. Once there, he murdered a guard and was found guilty with first degree murder. He then was transferred to Alcatraz to spend seventeen years on the the island. it is interesting how he spent more time on the island than Al Capone. Robert Stroud was called the “Birdman of Alcatraz” because he grew a strong interest in birds and decided to publish two books about them while spending time on The Rock. The many criminals that lived on Alcatraz were interesting. Not only is Alcatraz Island famous for its dangerous prisoners, but it was also famous for its numerous escape attempts.
Another reason Alcatraz was so famous was because of its frequent escape attempts. “Over the years, there were fourteen, known attempts to escape from Alcatraz, involving thirty-six inmates,” (Alcatraz - Facts & Summary). Of these fourteen, the most famous escape attempt was The Battle of Alcatraz on May second through the fourth, 1946, where six prisoners overpowered officers and got ahold of firearms. Although having possessions of weapons, the prisoners did not get the keys required to...

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