The History of Alcatraz
Located in the center of San Francisco, Alcatraz is a popular historic attraction that lures thousands of visitors every year. Originally, Alcatraz Island was a military fort that protected the San Francisco Bay and surrounding area in the 1850s. In 1934, it became a maximum security prison for the federal government.
Alcatraz Prison-The Rock
From 1934 to 1963, the prison was home to some of the most infamous prisoners in history including Robert Stroud, Al Capone and many others. Unruly inmates from other prisons were usually transferred to Alcatraz. During this time period, Alcatraz housed some of the most hardened criminals in the nation.
Rumors quickly spread that sharks lived in the bay and escape by swimming to the shore was a worthless risk. As a result, Alcatraz became known as “The Rock”. Ironically, the sharks in the bay were the type that did not attack people.
Intimidation was the strategy used to improve the bad behavior of prisoners. Guards would often take prisoners from cell block A through cell block C. The prisoners in cell block A could only see the other prisoners go down and not return. This was a frightening experience, especially for new prisoners. Solitary confinement was also a strategy used to improve bad behavior.
Escapes at Alcatraz
During the time Alcatraz prison was open, there were 13 escape attempts. None were successful. Some of the prisoners drowned in the bay, were shot by the guards or returned to their cells. The Battle of Alcatraz was one of the most famous escape attempts and is also well-known as the Alcatraz Blastout. This was also the bloodiest escape attempt in the history of the prison.
In May 1946, six prisoners attempted to take control of the prison. The prisoners overpowered the guards and took control for two days. Two guards were killed and many others were wounded during the battle. Three of the six prisoners were also killed during the battle. Reinforcements had to be called in to regain control of the prison.
In 1963, three prisoners escaped and were never found. Since “The Rock” was no longer inescapable, the prison was then closed, and prisoners were transferred to other facilities.
Cool Gifts to get at Alcatraz
Tours are available for Alcatraz prison every day of the week. The audio tour leads you through the main prison building and includes a history of the prison and inmates.
The gift shop features memorabilia of Alcatraz. There are many options in which you can choose from when you browse the gift shop towards the end of the tour. For the friend that really enjoys watching the movie “The Rock” or just happens to be a natural fanatic of the prison the gift ideas are limitless.
Make sure you take a moment to check out the maps and book section of the gift store. There are tons of historic memorabilia for you to choose from that can give your friend the sense of nostalgia of the prison. Other great gift ideas include fake costumes and shirts with the all too often recognized “I love” phrase.
If none of these ideas seem to work for your friend then feel free to fall back on the idea of a customized t-shirts with something personalized about Alcatraz on the design.
Some other cool gifts to get at Alcatraz include prison-striped shirts, posters of famed inmates and reproductions of tin cups used by prisoners.
As a culture, we have an image of prisons as dark, frightening places full of locked doors and homemade shanks. The truth, however, is that many prisons have stepped away from the soap and into more creative pursuits… and some of them are just WEIRD.
Here are five strange things that happen in prisons across the world:
5: Washing pink underwear
County jails in Texas have turned to pink to stop re-offenders. Banking on humiliation – and sheer absurdity – the sheriff makes his prisoners wear pink jumpsuits, don pink boxers and even sleep in pink cells. Does it work? We would ask, but we’re a little afraid of antagonizing big tattooed man-killers with pink undergarments.
Not one to let inmates stew in their aggression, the Cereso Chetumal prison in Mexico uses boxing to settle its disputes. While it may sound counterproductive – letting violent prisoners use violence to solve their problems – Cereso reports that its inhabitants are actually more cooperative and better behaved after a little boxing therapy.
3: Snuggling with Disney princesses
If you’re an incarcerated family man in Aranjuez, Spain, then you’re in luck. This 36-cell prison (often described as a “five star prison”) includes a Disney-decorated family room for visits from the wife and kids, officially making it one of the cuddliest jails ever.
Luxury jails are nothing new – just look at all the TVs and even jacuzzis that you can find in more upscale facilities – but there’s something especially odd about a prison that offers tanning beds. Who are they trying to impress? Even stranger, this effort comes from the Butyrskaya prison in Moscow, Russia, which is infamous for its poor and primitive conditions. The inmates may not have access to running water, but at least they can look nice and orange!
1: Dance numbers
In 2007, the internet lit up with a viral video of inmates in the Philippines doing a fully choreographed dance to Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller.” More performances followed, and then the practice spread to other prisons, turning this trend into one of the strangest ever to grace the jail yard. Who knew maximum security prisoners could be so much fun?
These are just five weird things to happen in prison, but there are plenty out there, and probably even more brewing in the minds of bored inmates. Watch this space in the future – there could be a sequel!
Various justice systems have incarcerated millions of criminals across the world. As a result there are thousands of prisons spread across the nations. From the smallest country to the largest, every nation has a prison. The curious person might ask, what are the largest prisons?
With a holding capacity of fourteen thousand, New York’s Rikers Island is considered one of the largest prisons in the world. Rikers Island is located on the East River between Manhattan and the Bronx. This prison has ten jails that hold local offenders who have a minor criminal offence and a sentence of less than one year. Although this prison never contains the full capacity of prisoners, with its twelve thousand inmates, it is one of the largest jails in the United States.
In Los Angeles California, Twin Towers Correctional Facility takes a spot as one of the worlds’ largest prisons. This prison is not the largest because of its capacity but rather for its size. With the Twin Towers Correctional Facility’s 1.5 million square feet it is the biggest prison complex in the World.
The largest woman’s prison is also located in California. Central California Women’s Facility is located in Chowchilla, and is the home of all of California’s female death row inmates. With a population of almost four thousand five hundred, there is no other female prison that can touch it.
In the beautiful lands of India, Tihar Prisons is the largest complex of prisons in South Asia. Located in Tihar Village, Tihar Prisons hold twelve thousand inmates well past the maximum capacity of five thousand two hundred. This prison was originally a maximum security prison, but later turned into a standard containment facility. Silivri Penitentiaries Campus, in Silivri Turkey, is the largest high-security prison in the world. With almost sixteen thousand inmates, this prison is not only the largest in Turkey, but also in the world.
As long as there are criminals in the world, there will be specially designed facilities to contain them, hopefully most people will never have a reason to stay in one of these facilities, or reason to visit any of the world’s largest prisons.
Would you ever think a prison would turn into a museum for anybody to view? That is what happened to several old and outdated prisons around the world. The top five prison museums in the world are: Alcatraz, Port Arthur Penitentiary, Cork Gaol, Inveraray Jail, and Kilmainham Jail.
Alcatraz is on an island all by itself in the ocean across from San Francisco, California, U.S.A. This is the prison where Al “Scarface” Capone and “Birdman” Robert Stroud both did time. When people visit this prison, they can actually hear the voices of correctional guards and prisoners who have died at it. If you wanted to see Alcatraz in person, experience the bird man and Al Capone’s cell, there are a lot of different San Francisco vacation rentals to choose from.
Port Arthur Penitentiary is located in Tasmania, Australia. This prison was made of sandstone. A short distance away from this prison is a cemetery where the prisoners were buried. There is also a boy’s prison not too far from the main prison which housed male convicts.
Cork Goal is in Ireland. It was operational from 1823 to 1923, only 100 years. When it was being used, the prisoners weren’t treated very well at all. Even though the prisoners were treated awful, during the famine, 1846 to 1849, people would commit a crime just so they could go to jail and eat.
Inveraray Jail is located in Argyll, United Kingdom. This jail only had eight cells. It housed both prisoners and those people considered to be insane. Inveraray Jail was used during the 1820′s, and then it closed down.
Kilmainham Jail is in Dublin, Ireland. In Europe, this jail is one of the few largest and unoccupied ones. It was used between 1796 to 1924. Visitors here can get a tour of the building and see what went on. When traveling to Kilmainham in Ireland be sure to shop around for airline tickets as you can find great last minute deals at cheapoair.com
It is hard to believe that old, unoccupied jails and prisons are now being used as museums. In a way, it would be neat to see the inside of a jail or prison. In other ways, it would be frightening to hear the voices of anybody who had died there. If some younger people visited these jails and prison museums, maybe it would deter them from committing crimes and ending up in a place like it. All in all, prison museums around the world are in place for a reason and always will be.
The Louvre in France is one of the most twenty interesting museums in the world. The twelfth century museum holds over thirty five thousand works of art. While in France, the Musee d’Orsay, formerly the Orsay Rail Road Station is a fine place to visit.
The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, in New York has art exhibits from around the world. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is known for sculpture gardens.
California has the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, while San Jose is home to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum famous for its Egyptian exhibits.
Central to the United States is the Art Institute of Chicago. This museum was founded in 1879 as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
New York’s American Museum of Natural History has wonderful dinosaur exhibits. Out west in Wyoming is the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.
Certain museums specialize in one collection. Such is the case of the Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is dedicated to the earliest forms of money to modern coin.
The Henry Ford Museum is a specialty place in Deerfield Village, Michigan. The building is dedicated to early transportation. Another form of transportation was ships. A museum in Fenwick Island, Delaware is the home of hundreds of artifacts to wrecked ships. It is the DiscoverSea Ship Wreck Museum.
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There is a museum in Salem Massachusetts called the Salem Witch Trials Museum. It is devoted to the witch trials of early America.
Rome has the Vatican Museum. Located in Vatican, Rome there are nine miles of exhibits to see. Michelangelo’s work is displayed in the Sistine Chapel along with work by Raphael in the Raphael’s Rooms.
Located in Florence, Italy the Uffizi Gallery has the distinction of being one of the oldest museums in the Western World.
The Tate Modern in England is among the twenty most interesting museums in the world. While in England the British Museum in London houses the Rosetta Stone. Great Britain is the home of the British Lawn Mover Museum. There are over two hundred early lawn mowers on display.
Tutankhamen’s gold mask is found in the Cairo Museum. The Royal Jewelry Museum in Egypt houses 19th century jewelry.
Once you visit a museum and find the one you absolutely fell in love with, make sure to stop at the gift shop for some souvenirs including snow globes, replica art work, calendars or anything that you might find interesting.