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Alcatraz Would Continue As A Prisoner But Under A Different Control

1967 words - 8 pages

The military prisoners that were on Alcatraz at the time would build the new military prison from 1909 through 1911. The new cell house was equipped with 600 cells, “…a hospital, a mess hall, and other prison buildings” ( Research around this subject states, that when the prison was completed it was the world’s largest reinforced building (NPS).
The Alcatraz lighthouse’s view of the Golden Gate Bridge was blocked during the construction of the cell house, “[the] beacon became obsolete” ( A new taller lighthouse replacement took place in 1909.
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 the 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 institutes in Kansas and New Jersey. In 1933, the Army cast the prison aside.

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 inmates whom committed the rather most egregious crimes]… [and] 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 penitentiary. The continuing daily cycle arranged for the Alcatraz inmates was designed to get them to follow prison rules and regulations. “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 civilized and non-criminal in the world outside of prison [which took an average of five years at Alcatraz], the inmate “…would be transferred to other federal prisons [which would have a mild security level] to complete their sentences [if they had any more time left to serve in prison]” ( Harsh punishments would be given if a prisoner possessed bad behavior; the punishment would depend on the degree of trouble that an inmate had caused- from “wearing a 12 pound ball and chain [to]…lock-downs where a prisoner would be kept in solitary confinement and restricted to bread and water” (Mahaney, Erin). These...

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