ALCATRAZ ISLAND AND PRISON Essay Research Paper — страница 5

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mother requested the intervention of President Wilson. Stroud’s hostile and sometimes violent nature left prison administrators no choice but to keep him away from other inmates and officers, and prison officials interpreted this to mean he should spend the remainder of his life in segregation of some sort. The keeping of birds and the studying of avian diseases gained international attention for Stroud, but it was also to figure prominently in his ultimate transfer to Alcatraz. He began to openly violate prison rules and regulations in favor of continuing his experiments and communications with bird breeders and fanciers around the world. Stroud was literally packed up and moved out in the middle of the night, with his destination being San Francisco. Arriving on Alcatraz in

1942, he was to enjoy the company of fellow inmates within the confines of D Block until there occurred a change in administration with the retirement of Warden James Johnston and the arrival of Warden Ed Swope. The enigmatic Swope was not to be challenged in any way by Robert Stroud and immediately moved him into a private room in the prison’s hospital. Using ill health to justify the move, Swope was able to segregate Stroud in such fashion that few, if any, were ever able to again see him. Genuine ill health forced Stroud’s transfer to the Federal Medical Facility in Springfield, Missouri in 1959. Four years after being received at the FMC, Stroud died of natural causes. The man about whom the world knew, the man about whom books were written and films were made was to be

ignored in death as the date of his passing followed by one day the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. On the morning of his death, Stroud was found by a fellow inmate who is probably more widely recognized on an international scale than any other confined on Alcatraz – recognized not so much by his own name than by the defendants with whom he was tried in 1951. Charged with conspiracy to commit treason, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed at Sing Sing Prison in 1953, and Morton Sobell was to arrive on Alcatraz the year before, 1952, and would spend the next five years as the federal system’s most famous political prisoner. Sobell’s case could easily be an example of J. Edgar Hoover’s influence. He simply did not fit the type generally selected for

incarceration on Alcatraz, but he most assuredly did meet the criteria for the type particularly targeted by the FBI director. At this point, it is again emphasized that the historic era must be given clear and serious focus, as the red witch hunt for Communist subversives spread across the country, led by Joseph McCarthy a! nd J. Edgar Hoover. Sobell alleged that Hoover dictated his placement in this maximum security institution, and there really exists no denial regarding this allegation. Following the five years inside Alcatraz, Sobell finished out the remainder of his sentence in USP Atlanta for a total of eighteen and a half years out of the original thirty set forth by Judge Irving R. Kaufman, Taken by the beauty of the Pacific and the Golden Gate, Sobell expressed a desire

to return to San Francisco when freedom was again his to enjoy. Morton Sobellresides today in the city, and is part of the living history of Alcatraz. By 1962 the era on which the Federal Prison history of Alcatraz is predicated was coming to an end. Times were changing and the Bureau of Prisons knew that they would have to respond to that change. Alcatraz offered no concept of rehabilitation, and the bureau was reconsidering its philosophy as it examines the pros and cons of warehousing as opposed to rehabilitation. The physical structures on Alcatraz were indicating wear and tear that would cost the government millions of dollars to upgrade to required security. Always an expensive institution to operate, 1961 found the daily cost of inmate upkeep approaching one-hundred

dollars, and an overall cost for continuing operation at better than six-million dollars. A new prison could and would be constructed at Marion, Illinois for ten-million, so to continue incarceration of inmates on Alcatraz was economically unsound. It is said that J. Edgar Hoover expressed displeasure at the closure of the prison, but his decades-long power base could not stand up to the new attorney general who made it quite clear to Hoover that a contrary decision had been made – a decision that would be backed by the attorney general’s brother in the White House. On Thursday, 21 March 1963, the end of an era arrived with the offic! ial closure of Alcatraz. The population had been gradually reduced commencing in February, with the final twenty-seven inmates taken off on the