Alcatraz Essay

1246 Words 5 Pages
As the cold waters rush into the San Francisco Bay, they crash up against an island standing in the strait. This rock is hidden by the fog and isolated by the chilling waters of the Pacific that flow in and out every day. It has a gloom that hangs about its rocky face most know it as Alcatraz but the men who experienced this island, referred to her as “The Rock”. To the men confined there, it is not only the ultimate in isolation but the most ironic because they are there in the midst of the activity of a busy harbor with small craft darting to and from San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Richmond, and Sausalito; within sound of the honking horns of a ceaseless procession of automobiles crossing the bridges; within sight of ocean …show more content…
Because of the passing of the Volstead Act in 1920, production and distribution of alcohol became an extremely profitable business. With this also came a noticeable rise in organized crime in many of the big cities. Even worse, the crimes committed by members of these gangs became more violent. Soon prisons were overcrowded and were merely hold facilities.

No correction was in mind for these prisoners. Convicts filled the empty hours with talk, mostly about the crimes they had committed and ways they could beat the law. Drug addicts and other petty offenders were mixed with killers and robbers. Young felons, who had taken to crime for no more than sheer pleasure or pride on a dare, came out of prison with no job skills but with plenty of advice from more experienced criminals. In 1933, J. Edgar Hoover was made the director of the recently established FBI agency.

Hoover had plans to crack down on these criminals. The problem Hoover faced was that, no sooner were the criminals locked up than the crime organizations would bust them out. With this major problem in mind, the Justice Department began looking into a maximum-security prison that was not easy to access and therefore inescapable. When they came across Alcatraz, it was almost too good to be true. By April of 1934, work began on Alcatraz to make the current cell house more secure by replacing soft iron square bars on the cells with new,…