The Effects Of Alcatraz Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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inmates, there was one guard, who was professionally trained to maneuver a gun. johnston established gun galleries in different ends of the cellhouse, and installed electric doors and gates throughout the prison. metal detectors were placed on the dock, at the rear gate, and at the entrance to the administration page 3 building. barbed wire was placed atop towering fences, that separated the prisoners from the outside world. the water of the San Francisco bay was perhaps the most unique security feature that alcatraz boasted of. the island itself was one and a half miles away from the mainland, and the natural tides and currents of the bay?s chilly water would surely prohibit a escape artist from crossing into freedom. warning signs were placed around the perimeter to caution

boats to maintain a 200 yard distance away from the island. if a boat violated this perimeter, the guards would be forced to open fire on the vessel. Buoys also encompassed alcatraz island, and served the same purpose as the warning signs. Warden Johnston placed iron bars in the cells. He therefore made provisions for their replacement with tool-proof steel bars which, unlike the iron bars, would prevent against erosion and make it nearly impossible for the inmates to saw their way through them. The windows of the prison were also reinforced by the addition of tool-proof steel bars. alcatraz penitentiary More then ten buildings were scattered around Alcatraz island during its ten years as a prison. Independently operated ?double doors? were in place in the buildings to allow only

those who were authorized to pass either in or out of the high security environment that each structure maintained. Perhaps the most important building to the actual prison operation was the cellhouse. This building was composed of approximately six hundred cells, each divided into four cell blocks: A block, B Block, c block, and d block. Most ?jailbirds? were housed in either the b block or c block during their incarceration. Each cell measured nine feet by five feet, with an eight foot ceiling overhead. Within each cell was a bed made of steel page 4 (topped by a mattress), a toilet, a shelf an electric light (which was not permitted to be used after 9.pm). Sheets, blankets, and pillows (with pillowcases) were provided to the inmates to make their stay a little more

comfortable. Inmates who obeyed the rules of the prison, were granted special activities that often included time in the recreation yard. This area of the prison was designated for the prisoners as a place where they could participate in a myriad of games. The Industry Buildings also provided the cooperative inmate with the chance to escape the every day routine by allowing them to work in various workshops doing such tasks as washing laundry, cooking food, carpentry work, electrician work, and tailoring. Even working in the industry buildings was a privilege. ?privileges? Life on the rock was not always as gruesome as is commonly supposed. alcatraz would allow certain freedoms for those who respected the rules and did as they were told. These freedoms were called ?privileges?,

and for some prisoners they were their reason for living, and an escape from imprisonment and the confines of their cells. Such privileges included the right to ask for a ?light? or ?heavy? portion of food in the mess hall (however an inmate was required to eat everything on his plate without excuse). Visitation rights, though carefully granted to certain inmates, would prohibit former convicts and persons who were thought to pose a threat to the operation of the island. Good behavior allowed inmates to read books and magazines of their choice from the library. A prisoner was given the right to correspond with friends and family outside the prison through letters, but even these were carefully censored and any material that was considered to be a threat to the institution was

removed. page 5 Every letter was rewritten by the staff of alcatraz, and it was not uncommon that an inmate?s letter had never been delivered. The recreation yard was another of the privileges that a good inmate could partake of. Morton Sobell, a former inmate of Alcatraz, described the recreation yard by saying,?….You could do what you wanted to do. You could sit on the steps and talk or watch. You could walk. You could play cards. You had a choice here which you did not have back there.? Even various sporting activities were allowed in this out-of-doors atmosphere, perhaps the most disheartening fact of the recreation yard was that one could easily see the life of San Francisco less than two miles away. This constantly served as a reminder to the prisoners that freedom was so