How to get to Alcatraz
The ferry to leaves from Pier 33.
Are you in San Francisco during the tourist season you have to book tickets in advance, they run out quickly. The best way to do it is Alcatraz Cruises web site.
What was Alcatraz?
Some of the most dangerous criminals in the US history did time here, inter alia Alphonse “Scarface” Capone, George Machine Gun” Kelly and Alvin “Creepy Karpis” Barker.
Look at those lovely faces!
Those who did not respect the rules of other prisons and those who were considered an escape risk were sent to Alcatraz – Alcatraz was, in other words, Correctional Services’ own little correctional facility.
The infamous prison was closed in the 1960s.
Occupation of Alcatraz
Alcatraz was occupied by a group of Native Americans between 1969 and 1971. They wanted to draw attention to their miserable living conditions and demanded that the US government finance the construction of a university and a cultural centre on the island.
Originally, Alcatraz was a Native American cemetery.
The guided audio tour is really interesting and you get to hear both former guards and prisoners tell anecdotes from the time the prison was in operation.
In 1962, Frank Lee Morris and the brothers John William Anglin and Clarence Anglin, all bankrobbers, fled from Alcatraz and they were never heard of since. They put dummies in their beds so that the guards would not discover that they were gone. They also placed pieces of wood in front of the escape hole.
Frank Lee Morris lived in cell number 138. Clint Eastwood played him in the movie Escape from Alcatraz.
A prisoner in Alcatraz had right to food, clothes, shelter and healthcare. Anything else, like knitting, borrowing books at the library and working in prison, was a privilegium and had to be earned.
William Baker was only a thief but was transferred to Alcatraz because he was considered a high escape attempt risk. He sat in the gift shop signing his autobiography Alcatraz 1259.
I wonder if he still sits there…