Alcatraz Facts for Kids

A Picture of Alcatraz Prison and Alcatraz Island
  • Name: Alcatraz or Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary
  • Location: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, USA
  • GPS Cordinates: 37°49’36″N 122°25’24″W
  • Built: 1934
  • Opened: August 11th, 1934
  • Closed: March 21st, 1863
  • Significance: Toughest and scariest prison in the world

28 Alcatraz Facts for Kids

  1. Alcatraz was a maximum security United States federal prison located on a 22 acre island.
  2. The former Alcatraz federal prison is located on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California, USA.
  3. The GPS coordinates to the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary are 37°49’36″N 122°25’24″W.
  4. Alcatraz prison and Alcatraz Island are now a popular tourist destination.
  5. According to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, over 1.4 million tourists visit Alcatraz each year.
  6. Alcatraz was designed for inmates who were the worst of the worst.
  7. The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was operational for 29 years.
  8. Alcatraz was opened on August 11th, 1934.
  9. Alcatraz was opened to house problem prisoners and societies worst criminals. Inmates sent from other prisons to Alcatraz were deemed to have no other place to go. Alcatraz was the end of the line for trouble inmates.
  10. Alcatraz was closed on March 21st, 1963.
  11. Alcatraz was shut down due to structural problems caused by saltwater saturation and that it costs three times more to house a prisoner in Alcatraz than in other federal prisons.
  12. A prison cell at Alcatraz was small, typically it was 9 feet deep, 5 feet wide and with a 7 foot ceiling.
  13. A prison cell at Alcatraz contained a bed, desk, sink and a toilet.
  14. Between 1934 and 1963, over 1,500 different inmates served time in Alcatraz.
  15. Some notable inmates of Alcatraz were Alphonse G. Capone, George K. Barnes and Ellsworth R. Johnson.
  16. Alphonse Capone, also known as Al Capone, spent four and a half years in Alcatraz.
  17. George Barnes, also known as Machine Gun Kelly, spent over 17 years in Alcatraz.
  18. Ellsworth Johnson, also known as Bumpy Johnson, spent 9 years in Alcatraz.
  19. Alcatraz was considered an escape-proof prison by personnel who operated it.
  20. None of the 14 escape attempts from Alcatraz were confirmed to be successful.
  21. However, an escape attempt on June 11th, 1962 by Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin may have been successful. The official report by the FBI stated the inmates most likely drowned. To this day, the bodies of these prisoners have never been recovered and the U.S. Marshals Service lists the case as open.
  22. All other escape attempts from Alcatraz failed, with the inmates either being captured or killed.
  23. Prior to Alcatraz housing a prison, it was used as a military fortification to protect the San Francisco Bay.
  24. The oldest lighthouse still in operation on the West Coast of the United States is on Alcatraz Island.
  25. Today, Alcatraz Island is managed by the United States National Park Service.
  26. In 1969, Alcatraz Island was occupied by a group of Native Americans for more than 19 months.
  27. In 1976, Alcatraz Island was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  28. In 1987, Alcatraz Island was designated at National Historic Landmark.

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