ALCATRAZ ISLAND AND PRISON Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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Although Federal courts do impose capital punishments, the reason why there is a gas chamber, but the actual carrying out of that sentence is attended to in the nearest State facility (in this case the death sentence was fulfilled at San Quentin State Prison). Is was rumored that no one ever escaped this island, but that is not exactly the case. Thirty-six prisoners were involved in attempts: 7 shot and killed, 2 drowned, 5 unaccounted for, the rest recaptured. 2 prisoners made it off the island but were returned, one, in 1945 (Giles) and one in 1962 (Scott). As for June 1962 escape, Morris and the Anglin brothers were successful in escaping both institution and island, but survival is very questionable. So to say that no one ever escaped the island, that is not true. But if they

survived, we may never know. Some people heard that many prisoners were killed in the gas chamber located on Alcatrz Island, they are wrong. Although Federal courts do impose capital punishments, the actual carrying out of that sentence is attended to in the nearest State facility Which in this case the death sentence would be fulfilled at San Quentin State Prison. There were several families that were housed on the island. The families were distributed in 64 Building, four wood frames houses, one duplex and three apartment buildings. Warden resided in large house adjacent to cell house, Captain and Associated Warden lived in duplex. The question that most people wonder, is how many guards actually upheld the island of Alcatraz, their answer is, 90 officers were required to cover

the three 8-hour shifts, plus sick leave and vacation time. Two-thirds of the custody staff resided on the island with the rest in the San Francisco and local areas. The actual amount prisoners that were contained on the island is somewhat vague due to the lack of accurate records. But as far as we know, it is somewhere in the vicinity of 1545 total, with 1576 numbers issued (some 30+ were returned to the institution with same number reissued). The most that was ever held in the prison at one time was 302, and as few as 222, but the typical average was around 260. Born of necessity, perhaps even political expediency, Alcatraz represents the federal government’s response to post-Prohibition, post-Depression America. Both the institution and the men confined within its walls are

a part of this era, and in order to be studied with any degree of understanding, it must be attended to with a focus on this time period. Prisons are a reflection of society and the reflection offered by Alcatraz is one of great clarity. The collaborative effort of attorney general Homer Cummings and Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Sanford Bates, produced a legendary prison that seemed both necessary and appropriate to the times. The emergence of persistent assertions about J. Edgar Hoover’s interest and influence with regard to Alcatraz cannot be corroborated, but neither have they been completely denied. With the public peace constantly threatened by crime, a response had to be made and Alcatraz was that response. An in-house memo issued by Cummings shortly after taking

office addressed the subject of creating a special prison for kidnapers, racketeers, and individuals guilty of predatory crimes. A remote site was sought, one that would prohibit constant communication with the outside world by those confined within its walls. Although land in Alaska was being considered, the availability of Alcatraz Island conveniently coincided with the government’s perceived need for a super-prison. Having taken possession of the former Army prison and having circumvented the San Francisco citizens who were concerned at the prospect of vicious criminals in the near vicinity, the Bureau of Prisons set about selecting a warden who could do the job. A well-organized, no-nonsense businessman and prison administrator with twelve years of experience in the

California Department of Corrections, James A. Johnston was to be that man. Johnston had retired at the time of his appointment by the Department of Justice, and its acceptance resulted in his serving as warden of Alcatraz for the next fourteen years. Classified as a concentration model, where difficult-to-manage prisoners from other institutions would be concentrated under one roof, Alcatraz served as an experiment. Segregation on this scale had not before been practiced, and only time would indicate its success or failure. Warden Johnston and the second Director of the Bureau of Prisons, James V. Bennett, both were men well ahead of their time. Visionaries in the field of penology, their knowledge enabled Alcatraz to function as it had been hoped and to serve later as a model