30 Chilling Images From Inside Alcatraz

By Nick Hadji 11 months ago

Headless hunt

Image Source/ Hisotry.comTwo prisoners hatched an escape plan and decided to make a dummy head in order to trick the guards into thinking they were soundly sleeping. However, what they actually did was drill holes into their cell walls in order to reach the vents. They were never found but assumed drowned.Original content sourced from Femanin.com

Alcatraz's awful hospital wing

Image Source/ WikipediaSo after your trip to the doctor's office, you can be seen by the nurses too (if you like!). In conditions that look more like they'd do harm than good, I can't imagine many people recovering here. Although Alcatraz's hospice was no good, they were forward in some aspects, such as providing hot water for showers.

Christmas at Alcatraz

Image Source/ Getty ImagesHere we have it... Christmas Day at Alcatraz with the prison cook. In all fairness, the menu doesn't look too bad. It's nice to hear that at least they were able to enjoy a few festivities on this holy holiday, even if it did mean getting right back to work after!

During the riots

Image Source/ Getty ImagesWhile prisoners rioted in 1946, one of the prison guards was actually attacked in the commotion. Ed Miller was burned badly by a gas grenade that went off during the riots that went on for a long three days. Now we can see why press camped out so much!

Inmates in the rubber shop

Image Source/ National Park ServiceAnother one of the jobs that inmates were forced to do is work with rubber. As you can see, the conditions they worked in are hardly humane, and they were often made to work ridiculous hours. However, it's doubtful that there was any legislative body that laid out requirements for this!

Time for lunch!

Image Source/ Bon AppetitImagine waiting in a queue with the rest of these folks for some horrid prison gruel. Well, that's just what they had to do! Either that or try to escape. It turns out that of the 36 who escaped, 23 were recaptured, 6 were shot and the remainder went missing (presumed drowned!).

Alcatraz's five star menu

Image Source/ PennliveSo, what's on offer? Well, as you can see here, it turns out that the menu isn't the worst! Yet, when you put some thought into it, it'll hardly be some Michelin chef they have in the kitchen. Then again, what sort of chef would want to commute all the way to an island for work each day?

The iconic Alcatraz "snitch" box

Image Source/ San Francisco Public LibraryOkay so check this one out... Alcatraz actually had their own "snitch" box. Instead of being found out going to the warden, you could snitch on your fellow inmates secretly instead. Once they'd passed information on they would get favours done for them in return.

Alcatraz's eerie morgue

Image Source/ PinterestWell... where else are you gonna put all the dead bodies? Alcatraz was home to some of the worst and well-known criminals in the world. Al Capone was one of these perpetrators. Having been transferred from a different jail, Capone was eager to bribe Alcatraz guards, but was awarded no special treatment.

And those who didn't make it

Image Source/ San Francisco Public LibraryGiven all of the prison break's that were planned during the period of time that Alcatraz was opened, some of the inmates were killed as they attempted to escape. This photo pictures three of the unlucky escapees who never quite made it, back in 1946.

In the rec yard

Image Source/ Wikimedia CommonsThis photo shows the daily lives of the inmates at Alcatraz, chilling out in the recreation yard. It was here they could play games like baseball and handball, or just chill as they pleased. This photo makes it seem like some sort of prisoner of war camp than anything!

Baker inmates

Image Source/ National Park ServiceIt was a given that all of the inmates were forced to work during their sentences at Alcatraz. Here you can see the prisoners actually practicing their baking skills in the bakery of Alcatraz. Admittedly, this is a much better job than I would do at baking bread!

Working till their hands bled

Image Source/ National Park ServiceNot everyone was as lucky to become a baker. Some people were forced to do more laborious jobs. Here we can see inmates weaving cargo nets with their bare hands. Given the coarseness of the rope, it's impossible for them not have sore fingers and thumbs from this kind of work.

The inescapable cells

Image Source/ MediumImagine being cramped into the cells like lab rats! Guards actually started rumours between the prisoners that if they tried to escape they would be eaten by sharks that circled the island. However, this wasn't true. What posed the true threat was the ice cold waters and hazardous currents.

Bubble baths at Alcatraz

Image Source/ Airfreshener.clubWe can hardly say it's spa treatment that's for sure! Between the bars on the windows and filthy conditions, this is the sort of spa you'd want your money back from. Alcatraz had no source of fresh water so had to have millions of gallons of water imported each week.

The operating theatre

Image Source/ Double Barrelled TravelYou wanna see the doctor? How about now? Looking like some sort of set from American Horror Story, this operating theatre is where you'd be seen by the doctors. I can be sure that they weren't the friendliest of people, and it probably had to be exceptional circumstances to get in here!

The criminals of Alcatraz

Image Source/ PinterestHere they are, up close and personal, lined up like cattle. On rare occasions, the guards would actually let the prisoners engage in games, like softball. The thought process was that the physical activity would keep the prisoners in shape, but ultimately ended in fights.

A visitor's pass

Image Source/ PBS.orgAlthough Alcatraz was essentially a floating prison, the inmates were still allowed to have visitors round (they're not bad you see!). However, even still, the rules were strict. This included no physical contact, monitored conversations and no talk of current affairs.

Prison Break

Image Source/ PinterestOf course, with some of the world's most intelligent criminal minds, you're going to find them that hatch a fool proof escape plan. It looks like these guys were at it for a while with this great hole. It's hard to keep the likes of Alcatraz criminals indoors, especially since they had to be impossible to handle to be landed there.

Alcatraz's cosy beds

Image Source/ TimeoutIf you wanna take a trip into the infamous walls of Alcatraz, you're more than welcome to. Since its closure in 1960s tourists can actually visit the walls and remember the shocking horrors that occurred. Although I'm not sure they would let you spend the night there!

Taking a leak

Image Source/ TripSavvyTaking a leak at Alcatraz was done with no privacy. Here you can see the toilet and sink right in the room where you'd sleep, and no doubt on show to the other inmates and guards. Officials used Alcatraz as a deterrent for some of the most uncontrollable criminals out there.

Max security

Image Source/ Getty ImagesIf the whole being on an island thing wasn't quite enough, the officials of the prison went overboard with the security precautions. In this photo you can see as a prison guard watches over the inmates while barbed wire looms above like a black shadow casting down.

The creepy empty hallway

Image Source/ TwitterOkay so imagine being a guard here, right? Looking down this hallway at night, hearing the creaks and cries of all the inmates (and possibly the ghosts too). There's no way this place isn't haunted! I can only imagine how noisy it got at times with only bars for doors.

Cells upon cells upon cells

Image Source/ Emory Human HealthIt's hard to imagine such of the most infamous criminals residing in these cells. Among them was Victor Lustig, who actually managed to con Al Capone out of $5,000! Initially he was sentenced to Alcatraz for a massive counterfeiting operation, and eventually outstayed his welcome.

Solitary confinement

Image Source/ San Francisco Public LibraryEveryone knows that if you misbehave you end up in solitary... that's just confirmed. Here we can see what solitary is all about. No bed. No window. Just three walls, bars and a grungy toilet. You can only imagine that those punished here would lose their minds.

Haunted hallways

Image Source/ Road TrippersThis creepy shot of one of the hallways of Alcatraz feels haunted (is that a ghost up there?!). Those who have toured Alcatraz said they can hear a banjo playing, which would make sense, given Capone was part of a jailhouse band (and played the banjo of course).

Al Capone's mug (shot)

Image Source/ Getty ImagesGiven that we've mentioned so much about him, it's only right that we include his mug shot in the line up! Here we have the gangster and inmate Al Capone back in 1934. While serving his sentence at the prison he was actually stabbed, but still battled on to finish his sentence. That's commitment.

Bad neighbours

Image Source/ HiveminorYou like your privacy you say? Well, tough. This is how closely you'll be living with the other inmates. Get used to it. It's hardly surprising the fights and scuffles would break out when prisoners were made to live on top of each other in this way, and would often do anything to protect themselves.

The press couldn't get enough

Image Source/ Getty ImagesThis photo was taken back in 1946 during the infamous Alcatraz prison riots. Press and photographers parked themselves on the shore to film and take photos of the goings on. The angle of this photo makes the distance between the prison and land look shorter, but it was actually 2km away.

Alcatraz retirement dinner

Image Source/ National Park ServiceWhat better place to host a dinner than, well, in a prison. Instead of the prisoners this time, it's all the Warden's friends and family. Taken back in 1948, the photo depicts the goings on of James A. Johnston's retirement party from Alcatraz. Why couldn't the inmates make it?!

Attempted Breakout

This is a picture of the three men who attempted to escape from the prison - Clarence Carnes, Sam Shockley, and Miran Thompson in 1948. Sam Shockley, and Miran Thompson were sent to the gas chamber for their attempt to break free. Carnes was given a life sentence.

Sam Shockley and Miran Thompson

 Here are the two facial pictures of the infamous Alcatraz prisoners Sam Shockley and Miran Thompson - as well as their attempted breakout these two men were responsible in being the driving force for the riots of 1946. As we know, they died the very same year.

The Riot Starters

But although the previous prisoners helped, it was these three who were accused of being the real riot causers of 1946 - a riot which became known around the world. Here they are Bernard Paul Coy, Marvin Hubbard, and Clarence Carnes (who also tried to breakout) in their mugshot pictures.

Prison Guard after The Riots

This is prison guard C.D Corwin after the three day prison riot in 1946. He was on duty and tried to quell the riots and as a result we can see that his face ended up in a gruesome state, as did many during the violent riots. Here he is receiving medical attention in Alcatraz.

The Laundry Room

Here is the laundry room at Alcatraz. This is not Alcatraz in the beginning - it is certainly not as squallid as we have seen in some of the photos. But, this is just the laundry room where all the dirty things will be taken and the new sheets are placed.

The Visitation Station

Contact visitation is one thing that we don't expect in notorious Alcatraz. But can this even be classed as a window visit either? There is a tiny little window in the wall built into a thick wall with a thick frame to make it impossible to break out of or pass things through it.

Cramped Living

Space was one of the very many luxuries missing in the prison of Alcatraz. His cell just about manages to fit a very small kind of bed in it and there is room for a miniscule sink at the end and that is pretty much the extent of it. It's definitely no hotel room...

Bars and More Bars...

The whole building of Alcatraz is designed with the idea in mind that it had to home some of the worst of history's criminals, who would attempt to break free from its walls. And so despite being surrounded by sea, there are thick bars everywhere possible.

A Glimpse To The Outside

This is more of a glimpse tot he outside world than most of the prisoners ever got. But, even if they did we can see the bars and spikes which act as security in helping solidify this prison. Plus, beyond it all you can see is water - making it even more inescapable.

Completely Gloomy

Being a prisoner here is dark and dreary to say the least but also life for the guards. The visual look of it here shows just how truly dark and terrifying the place is. The visual really does reflect the feeling of the place. Completely cold and eery...

In The Kitchen

This is a contrast to the last picture in that it looks a little more light an airy. This is a more recent photo of the kitchens that were in Alcatraz, used to feed both prison guards and prisoners night and day -every day. It doesn't look so well equipped but at least there is space.

Down In The Cellar

This is the underneath of Alcatraz. Down in the cellar floor with all of the pipes and the workings. Who knows if the three prisoners who actually managed to escaoe used this as a part of their escape plan? It looks like a picture straight out of a horror movie.

Broken Doors

See here there are doors, and behind it there are more doors. This is because everything was double...even triple safe to ensure that nobody would be leaving Alcatraz. But see thisdoor made up of glass panels. All the pieces of glass are different colours from when prisoners have smashed them and they have been replaced.

A Prisoner's File

Here is the real life warden's file of Joseph Soliwode which was kept in Alcatraz. He was serving a life sentence here for rape which we can see from the document is 25 years. This photo dates back to 1934. The file also states his current medical state.

Tools Used During The Riot

Of course, in a high security prison such as this, prisoners are allowed nothing that could be used a a sort of tool or weapon. With that being said, mistakes happen and prisoners had gathered anything possible over time. Here are the tools that they used during the infamous riots. 

A Closer Look At The Hospital

Here again we can see the hospital. And aside from looking extremely squalid it is also a highly miserable looking place. This is certainly not the kind of place you want to be bed bound and bed ridden. There are two beds with a kind of wheelchair in the corner.

Total Darkness...

Now this picture accurately depicts how it felt to live inside here. Although it was not always total darkness like this - it depicts the feeling inside. And, at night and in certain parts of the building this is exactly what it looks like. An overwhelming feeling of darkness.

Sound Asleep

Sound asleep is definitely not what you would call a prisoner sleeping in these cells. We've already seen how cramed they are but now with a grown person inside we see just how tiny and cramped these cells are after all. And, seeing it through the bars shows us the view of a prison guard looking in.

The Staff Office

 This is the place where staff would come, either for a drink or food break or to swap shifts or when they are off duty. It is is a simple room with just a table and some chairs. But, it is certainly less depressing that the prisoner's area. And there are no bars on the windows here.