Alcatraz, America's most infamous maximum security prison was designed to be escape proof. But on a clear, cool night in the summer of 1962 three prisoners did make it off the island and then vanished without trace" (Discovery Communications). It is still a mystery today if the prisoners survived. For the prisoners to escape they had to use all the materials they could get their hands on. They used simple, everyday items to develop a brilliant plan to break out. Alcatraz, a famous American prison seemed to be completely escape proof until four American criminals each with a history of escapes tried to break out.In 1850, the United States government issued a presidential order for the island called Alcatraz to possibly become a base for the U.S. army. Although the base was fortified with over one hundred cannons making it the most heavily armed base on the West Coast, it never fired its weapons in battle. Eventually Alcatraz was being used to hold prisoners instead of protecting the West Coast. By 1909 the fortress was torn down leaving only the foundation for a prison to be built. The prisoners themselves built the prison from 1909-1911. This prison, now called Alcatraz, was later nicknamed "The Rock" ("BOP: Alcatraz"). When Alcatraz was given over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons it was fitted with tough iron bars and guard towers placed all over the island ("FBI-A Byte Out of History. Escape from Alcatraz").
[...] The living conditions at Alcatraz weren't that bad compared to other prisons. Inmates even requested a transfer to Alcatraz because of the conditions such as one man to a cell and the ability to earn privileges. The inmates had four basic rights which were: food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Following rules and regulations could earn a prisoner privileges such as: working, family visits, access to the prison library, and recreational activities. The prisoners could engage in painting, music and other activities during recreation time Alcatraz”). [...]
[...] Once they got past those the prisoners inflated their rafts and drifted out in the San Francisco Bay headed for the coast more than a mile away (The True Story: Escape from Alcatraz). At the time of the escape, the tide was flowing out of the bay and the wind was blowing into it. These factors would have affected the prisoners differently depending on if they were above the water on the raft or submerged in it (The True Story: Escape from Alcatraz). [...]
[...] The plan was working well and it was getting close to their escape (The True Story: Escape from Alcatraz). The next step in the escape was to build rafts so they could survive the treacherous San Francisco Bay. They used donated and stolen prison issued, watertight raincoats to make their raft. The Anglins worked the most on the raft. They hand stitched it and used water-soluble glue (The True Story: Escape from Alcatraz). The last thing the prisoners had to do was to remove the vent at the top of the cell block to get on the roof. [...]
[...] The prisoners had no control over their diet and had little time to work out (The True Story: Escape from Alcatraz). Five days after the escape a letter arrived at the FBI office in San Francisco saying, We Made Neither fingerprints nor handwriting matched so it was most likely a hoax. Items such as letters belonging to the men, pieces of raft, and a paddle were found a few days later along with a body floating in the San Francisco Bay wearing the same clothes as the inmates at Alcatraz. [...]
[...] West also made a homemade drill using a broken vacuum's motor and a bit stolen from the prison workshop. This drill was noisy and could only be used during recreation time when it was loud in the prison. Once the holes in the wall got too large to hide, the prisoners had to make fake wall segments to cover up their work. They used cardboard and paint to make them look as real as possible. The only thing that went wrong so far was that West made the hole in his wall a little too big and the guards might notice it so he and the Anglins patched it up with some concrete. [...]
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