Alcatraz Island was opened from 1934 to 1963. At that time it was the last stop in the federal penitentiary pipeline. It housed famous criminals such as Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Stroud, “The Birdman of Alcatraz” (American Automobile Association 81). The warden, James Johnston, turned it into such a brutal place that even the most hardened criminals started calling it “Hellcatraz”. That raises the question was Alcatraz’s brutality essential, or just plain
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the three ring leaders were later executed (Stuller 92).
Alcatraz housed some of the worst criminals in America and the harsh life they lived was necessary to keep them under control. Sure life was brutal but every convict in there had earned it one way or another. For many inmates, Alcatraz was the only truly intimidating thing in the world. “The Rock” (American Automobile Association 81) is a fascinating place with a facinating and sometimes gruesome history.