Volstead Act Issues Essay Research Paper In — страница 2

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Gun” Kelly arrived on the island. The first escape attempt from Alcatraz occurred on April 27, 1936. Joseph Bowers was serving a 25-year sentence for robbery. Although he stole just $16 dollars, the store happened to house the town’s post office, thereby making it a federal offense. Bowers was attempting to scale the fence surrounding the cell house when a guard noticed him. Three warning shots were fired, one of which struck Bowers in the side, causing him to lose his grip on the fence and fall to his death, 60 feet below. The following year, two more men attempted escape from the island. In the afternoon of December 16, 1937, Theodore Cole, serving time for kidnapping, and Ralph Roe, serving time for bank robbery, broke through a window in the mat shop, sawed their way

through the fence and made it to the bay. The prison launched several boats to search the surrounding waters, but there was no sign of Cole or Roe. It is believed that they drowned in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay. Six months later, three more men made a daring dash for freedom that resulted in the first correctional officer death on the island. James Lucas, Thomas Limmerick and Rufus Franklin were working in the wood shop on May 23, 1938, when they made their attempt. They took a hammer from the shop and struck the officer in charge on the head, killing him instantly. Another officer in a nearby guard tower noticed the men dashing down an embankment and fired upon them. Limmerick was shot in the head and killed. The other two men surrendered and were later convicted of

first degree murder for the death of the guard they had attacked. January 13, 1939- For a period of nearly two years, five men (William Martin, Dale Stamphill, Henri Young, Rufus McCain and Arthur “Doc” Barker) had been slowly sawing their way through the bars on their solitary confinement cells in “D” block (example: right). Unlike the rest of the prison, the bars in “D” block had not been converted from soft-iron bars to “tool-proof” bars. In the early morning hours of January 13, the men successfully removed a bar from each of their cells, used a home-made spreader to part the “tool-proof” bars on the window and made their way out of the cellhouse. Within 30 minutes, the empty cells had been discovered and a search was launched. When they were discovered on

the rocky shores, Martin quickly surrendered. Barker, Stamphill, McCain and Young made a run for it, but were stopped by gunfire. Barker was shot in the head and died, while Stamphill was slightly wounded in the leg. The other two surrendered without injury. As punishment, McCain and Young were sent to “dark cells”, solitary confinement units with steel doors that left the inmate in complete darkness 24 hours a day, except for a 10 minute shower once a week. November 1940- After almost two years in dark solitary confinement, Young and McCain were released into the regular prison population. Within a week of release, Young stabbed McCain to death in the tailor shop on the island. Young was tried for murder, but his defense attorney claimed that his years on Alcatraz,

particularly his time in dark solitary confinement, had drove Young to the brink of insanity. The jury agreed with Young and found him guilty only of manslaughter. As a result of the Young trial, the Bureau of Prisons launched an investigation into the conditions on Alcatraz. While the investigation refused to state that conditions on the island were terrible, it did recommend that “D” block be renovated. Money was allocated by the Bureau and work began immediately to make the “treatment units” less deplorable. After having spent over 33 years in prison, another one of Alcatraz’s famous inmates was transferred to the island in 1942. As a problem prisoner from Leavenworth, Robert “The Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud spent his entire stay in solitary confinement. May 2,

1946- One of the most daring escape attempts began on this day and ended three days later with two officers and three of the escapees dead. The Siege of ‘46 was the bloodiest escape attempt to occur on Alcatraz. After such a bloody escape attempt, it would be another 10 years before anyone attempted to escape again. Over the course of the next ten years, things remained quiet on Alcatraz. Warden Johnston retired in 1948 and was replaced by another former corrections officer, Edwin Swope. Changing wardens was tough on the prisoners because it took time to come to respect another warden. Although Warden Johnston had been strict, he gave prisoners his respect, which they admired. Warden Swope had a hard time earning that respect, and no sooner did the prisoners get adjusted to his