Wondering Why?

Why Was Alcatraz Closed?

Why Was Alcatraz Closed?

Although it was almost forty years have passed when this prison was forced to close, this was still the subject of urban legends, giving it the reputation of being the well-known United States federal prison. Stories of brutality are still luring the place. Nevertheless, the real story needed to surface.

The Alcatraz Island or, most commonly known as the Alcatraz Prison was given the current name by a Spanish explorer during his exploration voyage of the San Francisco shore, California in year 1775. In his native language, the name meant, ‘The Island of Pelicans, because only the birds inhabit the said place. This island was originally planned to house a fortress with gigantic canons that could bring down warships of adversaries for miles. Upon finishing it in 1850, the army used these canons only once, and the shot was inaccurate and missed the target.

Early in the days of the prison, only uniformed personnel were held here until 1933 came when it was converted to a national prison by the virtue of the DOJ. A year later, the first batch of civilians were accommodated in the prison. The government then emphasized that due to a far distance between this island and the shores around San Francisco, the presence of ferocious sharks and the cold water temperature, escape was far too impossible.

In spite of these categories, several attempts were made by the prisoners. Of the 14 attempts, no one succeeded. It was proven by research, however, that swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco shore was probable, and that accounts of the presence of sharks were also challenged. There were notable convicts who planted the reputation of the prison. Some include Bumpy Johnson, Doc Barker and Machine Gun Kelly.

After 29 years of operations, in the 21st day of March 1963, Alcatraz Prison was forced to close because according to the decision of the national government that it was becoming too expensive for the government to pursue the operations. The danger to the environment that the prison imposes also became a concern.

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