Escape From Alcatraz


Alcatraz Penitentiary is a famous prison on Alcatraz Island near San Francisco.  It was built in 1910 and it housed some very dangerous criminals. Many people believed it was impossible to escape from Alcatraz.  The water around the island was extremely cold and its currents were very powerful.  Prisoners who tried to swim away from Alcatraz would likely die in the sea.   However, Alcatraz prisoners nearly broke out twice in the prison’s history.

In 1946, several prisoners overpowered some prison guards and took their weapons.  The prisoners held the guards hostage.  They planned to steal a boat in the harbor but the escape failed after a gun battle took place.  Afterwards, Alcatraz prison authorities improved security.  They tried to ensure that a similar incident would never happen again.

Another group of prisoners tried to escape in 1962. They tunneled through some air vents to the outside.  They made models of themselves to fool the guards.  They made a boat out of 50 raincoats for the journey across the bay.  Some people believe the escape was successful but prison authorities dispute this possibility.  They claim the prisoners died in their attempt to swim to San Francisco.   However, the bodies of the prisoners have never been found.  A Hollywood movie called Escape from Alcatraz was later produced in 1979.  The film strongly suggests that the prisoners did indeed survive their escape attempt and made it to freedom.