Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

This is a cell in Alzatraz Prison, the federal penitentiary. The prison sits on Alcatraz Island, amid the chilly waters of the San Fransisco Bay.  From 1934 to 1963, the 20-acre island housed the most difficult and dangerous men in the country (including Al Capone). Some wore a 12 pound ball and chain on the premesis. Cells were a mere 5′ by 9′ in size.


The island prison was also called The Rock, and while no prisoner ever escaped the island, more than a dozen attempts were made. The swells of the bay took its share of men, as did guards’ shotguns. Most who tried to escape were merely caught and taken back to prison.

This attept proved successful, though. The inhabitants were assumed drowned.



One of the worst experiences for prisoners unlucky enough to be sentenced at Alcatraz was the reality of how close one was to “freedom”. Though this little “slit” in the thick walls of Alcatraz prison, inmates could view downtown San Francisco, only a mile and a half away. On Christmas and New Years, music and celebration could be heard through these openings in the walls. Freedom was so close, yet so far, driving many inmates more insane and stir-crazy. (

The Rock had more suicides than any other prison.


Below, an ironic and saddening view from a boat headed back to the mainland. The Rock, in a fog. A memory.




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