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Alcatraz Island ~ Cold Read

Alcatraz Island is located in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay in


California. The island was home to a maximum-security prison, known as
Alcatraz, from 1934 until its closing in 1963.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) designated Alcatraz as a prison for the
most dangerous, violent, or escape prone prisoners. Due to its location on an
island surrounded by rough and icy waters, many said it would be impossible
to escape from such a prison alive. Nicknamed The Rock, no prisoner is known
to have escaped from Alcatraz alive, despite at least a dozen known escape
attempts.

The first warden, James A. Johnston, hired approximately one guard for
every three prisoners. Each prisoner had his own cell. According to the BOP,
Alcatraz typically held around 260-275 prisoners. Inmates at Alcatraz were
given fewer privileges than they received at other prisons, so The Rock was
not a place any prisoner wanted to be. While surviving at Alcatraz under
sparse conditions with few privileges, an inmate could learn to follow rules.

The most notorious prisoner known to inhabit Alcatraz was Al Scarface


Capone, who spent four-and-a-half years there during the 1930s. His arrival on
the island made headlines across America. Capone was sent to Alcatraz
because he was almost impossible to contain in a prison in Atlanta, Georgia.
In Atlanta, Capone continued to remain in contact with other criminals and
arranged criminal activity from inside the prison. He even convinced prison
officers to help him! But, at Alcatraz, Al Capone soon realized that none of
that would be possible. He once admitted to the warden, It looks like
Alcatraz has got me licked.

Other famous Alcatraz inmates included George Machine Gun Kelly, who
spent 17 years at Alcatraz on a kidnapping conviction. Gangster Alvin
Creepy Karpis Karpowicz, listed as Public Enemy No. 1 by the FBI in the
1930s, spent over 25 years behind bars at Alcatraz. Murderer Robert Stroud,
known as the Birdman of Alcatraz served 17 years there.

Finally, in 1963, Alcatraz was shut down because it was too expensive to
operate. Furthermore, the isolated island buildings were beginning to crumble
due to exposure to the salty sea air. Today, the island is part of the Golden
Gate National Recreation Area. It is open to the public, and over one million
tourists visit Alcatraz each year.
Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Prison Facts ~ In the article, underline each fact in green.


Location: ___________________________________________
Years of Operation: ___________________________
First Prison Warden: _________________________
Nickname: _________________________________________
Number of Prisoners: ________________________
Famous Alcatraz Prisoners
A. Underline each name in blue.
B. Underline each nickname in green.
C. Underline the number of years served in yellow.
D. Complete the chart with information from the article.

Name Nickname # of Years Served

What was the purpose of Alcatraz, as determined by the BOP? Find the
answer in the article, underline it in red, and then write it below using
complete sentences.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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Why did Alcatraz shut down? Find the answer in the article, underline it in
purple, and then write it below using complete sentences.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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