Alcatraz prison on Pelican Island
An escape plan had been prepared for months, carefully thought out, and was ideal. The usual evening of June 11, 1962. Everything seemed ordinary. However, for the three prisoners it was different. Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin dared the impossible – to escape from Alcatraz, the most secure prison in the United States of America. This prison-fortress rises in the San Francisco Bay, two kilometers from the West American metropolis. It instills fear even into the most dangerous criminals. Who violated public order – go to jail, who violated the orders of prison – got to Alcatraz prison. The Island of the Pelicans has also a nickname – “The Rock.” There was kept the king of the mafia Al Capone. It is the most famous prison in the world. On the Island of Pelicans were killed a lot of people. Many committed suicide. Indians consider it a cursed place. Some say that on Alcatraz were seen, and heard shadows, moans, ghosts, poltergeists. Apparently, the place is unclean and evil.
In 1960s the prison Alcatraz in the criminal world was considered the last resort. This maximum security prison was established in order to collect all the “bad eggs” in one basket. Frank Lee Morris, and his two accomplices, John and Clarence Anglin – professional criminals and the real masters of escape. From their first days in the “Rock” they began to look for options and think unthinkable – escape plan.
The main obstacle to freedom was, of course, ice water, strong current in the bay of San Francisco. The distance from the island to the Californian metropolis – one and a half miles (2.4 kilometers). Also they had to get out of the main body of the prison undetected, overcome fence topped with barbed wire. But first, they had to get out of the cells.
The task at first glance was unsolvable. Undermining – impossible, to go through the bars – too. However, Frank Morris (high IQ of 133, which is in the top 3%) and his cronies found a way out. Having found that the concrete walls of the main body of the old buildings were not so strong, they decided to wade through the opening air vents, measuring 13 by 24 cm In order to widen the opening, the masters of escape at night worked hard with sharpened spoons. To cover the traces of night work, they created copies of grids, which were put to the wall. In addition, in the case were stacks of magazines, accordion and other things overall.
To make escape not to be noticed until the morning, the prisoners created a papier mache mannequins. Hair was collected out of the hair salon, and they got paint. Behind the back wall of the cell were the pipes of the technical path-mine. Climbing them up at the night of the escape, the prisoners got to the top floor of the building. There, through the sunroof, which was opened with the help of a homemade drill, they hit the roof.
The escape was long and complicated. Over a period of two years, Morris, West and the Anglin brothers created a raft and lifelike dummies, and stole tools to dig with. So many escape materials had been used by the conspirators that they had created a workshop above their cell row.
A few months working on the future life jackets and inflatable raft. All the tools and materials they managed to get through contact with inmates in the kitchen, workshops, etc.
Everything went perfectly and according to plan. Apart from the fact that originally were going to run four, but one of the prisoners (Euler West) could not just get out of the camera. Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin, being at the shore, used inflated raft and floated away.
In less than 12 months after this successful escape federal prison was closed. No one has ever seen them, they are still missing. As of today, already half a century later, they are still wanted by police. Did the prisoners cross the San Francisco Bay? One paddle, two life jackets and a rubber bag with a photo were found, but no raft. The bodies were never found. If they managed to get to the land, they didn’t return to their ‘old business’.
Sometimes the noise of the big city reached the island and the stunning views of San Francisco even more pressured prisoners. Everyone dreamed of escape. There have been cases of riots and hostage-prison guards.
The basic principle in the work of prison – all become equal, whether a bank robber, the killer, the most outstanding representative of the U.S. Organized Crime Al Capone or the famous American gangster George Kelly Barnes. It was not a penal colony. The major aim was re-socialization, breaking the spirit.
The prisoners were allowed to shave 1 day a week, cut hair – once a month. In the dining room was usually given one and the same, namely pasta. In the gift shop is now possible to buy mugs that by the shape and type similar to the original.
Alcatraz prison on Pelican Island
Alcatraz frequently appeared in films. The most famous prisoners at various times were Clint Eastwood (“Escape from Alcatraz”, 1979) and Sean Connery (“The Rock”, 1996).