ALCATRAZ ISLAND AND PRISON Essay Research Paper — страница 4

  • Просмотров 520
  • Скачиваний 13
  • Размер файла 24

for the federal prison located in Marion, Illinois. Contrary to popular myth, Alcatraz was to confine only a few of the infamous headline-makers of the era. Of the 1545 men to do time within its walls, the vast majority were not to be found on wanted posters adorning post office walls. “I was doctor on that hell-hole. I served diligently for the better of three years. I attented to some of the most notorious criminals, and I got to really know them. I found out that they were people just like anyone else, but just with a severe case of bad luck.”(3) Alcatraz was, of course, home to Al Capone for slightly under four and a half years. Transferred from USP Atlanta in August of 1934, Capone was among the first “official” shipment of prisoners to be received. His arrival

generated bigger headlines than the opening of the institution, giving birth to the endless myth of Alcatraz. The most difficult aspect of Capone’s management in Atlanta was his constant contact with family members who took up residence at a nearby hotel. Through this channel of communication Capone continued to run his organization in Chicago. He also worked at corrupting officers and enlisting fellow prisoners as personal servants. Influence and privilege were lost at Alcatraz where Capone was assigned menial jobs and treated in accordance with others. In failing health due to syphilis, he was transferred to FCI Terminal Island in January of 1939, and then on to USP Lewisburg, released from there in November of that same year. “Yes I served on the rock. I was a prison guard

for some of the meanest criminals I’ve ever seen. I still have nightmares today of being there. We were commanded to be cruel. We were taught that the only way we would survive, was to show no fear, or else those criminals would eat you for breakfast. I’ll never forget the look on the inmates face as they came onto Alcatraz, the most repulsive look, like they had nothing else to live for. I’ll never forget happened there, my dreams won’t let me.” (4) Arriving on the second “official” shipment to Alcatraz in September of 1934 was George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Involved first in bootlegging, he was apprehended and sentenced to Leavenworth. At the conclusion of a three-year stay, Kelly emerged from prison in touch with some of America’s best bank robbers, and

immediately pursued a new line of work. From lucrative bank jobs, he advanced to kidnaping in 1933, holding for ransom a wealthy Oklahoma oil magnate. His capture resulted in the first Lindbergh Law trial and it was a courtroom sensation. Kelly was given a life sentence and returned to USP Leavenworth, within months being transferred to Alcatraz. He was considered a model prisoner by the officers with whom he came in contact, causing some question regarding his transfer to the more secure institution. Headlines and Hoover must here be considered. After seventeen years on Alcatraz, Kelly suffered a mild heart attack and was returned again to Leavenworth in 1951. Within months of being paroled in 1954, a final attack ended his life at the age of 59. From early days as a petty

thief, Alvin Karpis moved on in his career to join Ma Barker and form the Barker-Karpis partnership literally laying waste to the Midwest between 1931 and 1936. His flamboyant style of robbery and kidnaping earned him the absolute wrath of J. Edgar Hoover. Karpis soon found himself with a new title, that of Public Enemy No. 1, and his name was recognized throughout the country, Avoiding capture for some fifteen months after the Barkers were apprehended, Karpis was finally taken into custody in New Orleans on May first, 1936. By August of that year, Karpis was residing on Alcatraz where he would spend the next 26 years, transferred to USP-McNeil Island in April of 1962, and released from the federal prison system via deportation to Canada in 1969. Leaving that country to assume

residency in Spain, Karpis committed suicide in 1979. The most complete media coverage to be accorded an Alcatraz inmate was given to Robert Franklin Stroud. He was to gain world wide attention and notoriety as the Birdman of Alcatraz, regardless of the fact he was not permitted to continue his avian studies during his 17 years on the island. Following incarceration in USP McNeil Island, where he was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter in 1909, Stroud was transferred to Leavenworth after serving only three years. A history of violence dictated the move, and Stroud had been in Leavenworth less than four years when he attacked and killed a custodial officer in front of better than 2,000 other inmates. His trial resulted in the death sentence, but was commuted to life after his