On March 21, 1963 the last 27 inmates of the legendary federal prison Alcatraz left their cells and were sent to other prisons. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered to close the prison. According to the officials the prison was closed as it was too expensive to maintain it and its inmates.
The story of this place goes back to the 18th century. A Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala y Aranza discovered the island in 1775 and named it La Isla de los Alcatraces. The island served as a fortress for some period of time and later was transformed into the military prison that later became the most terrific prison in the United States. The prison was built in such a way no one could escape from it. Obviously it was impossible to escape from the prison as it was located on the island surrounded by San Francisco bay. The ocean waters are very cold and rapid so that even if some of the inmates could leave the building they could hardly leave the island.
It is believed that during 29 years no one escaped the federal prison of Alcatraz. In fact 36 prisoners tried to escape even though it was almost impossible to do it. 6 of them were killed, 2 of them drowned trying to leave the island, the rest of them were caught. Well, people believe that probably those two inmates didn’t drown but managed to leave the island. In fact their bodies were never found, so who knows… The most famous attempt was devised by Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin in 1962. Their plan was elaborated in details. So the case has been still investigated. Another famous escape attempt was in 1946 that led to so called the Battle of Alcatraz. 3 inmates and 2 guards were killed during the battle. Several guards and inmates were also injured.
As the rule inmates of different state prisons were sent to Alcatraz. Among famous inmates were Al Capone and Robert Stroud.
Nowadays Alcatraz island is a national recreation area. So anyone may visit the island taking a ferry from San Francisco. But many people believe that the place is haunted. The prison itself is a museum today. In 1986 the island got the status of a National Historic Landmark.
The federal prison of Alcatraz and its history have inspired many producers and directors. Thus the prison appeared in such films as Catch Me If You Can, The Rock, Escape from Alcatraz and others.