Alcatraz: The Story and History


Alcatraz was formerly served as fortress, military prison, and Department of Justice as a maximum-security federal penitentiary. Today, Alcatraz is become one of the America’s mos fascinating National Park Sites. Read the following tips and information or you will miss a-day tour in the island, especially for those who spend only several days in San Fransisco!

What is Alcatraz?

Alcatraz is the name of a tiny island in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. It has a long history as fortress, military prison,  Department of Justice as a maximum-security federal penitentiary, and now it is served as one of US National Park.

Where is Alcatraz located? How to Get There?

Alcatraz is located in San Fransisco Bay, California, USA. To get there, take a ferry from Pier 33. Make sure you reserve your seat online weeks/months prior your departure because the tour in the island of Alcatraz is limited ( Otherwise, you can only watch Alcatraz from the boat!

Hours of Operation

The first ferry leaves Pier 33 to Alcatraz Island at 9AM in the morning. The good news is that the ferry runs between the island and San Fransisco at about 30 – 40 minute intervals. It closes 6.30 in the summer, and 4.30 in the winter. There is also special program called Alcatraz night tour for those who enjoy night scene of San Fransisco. Alcatraz is closed on Christmas and New Year or extreme weather.


How Much it Costs to Get Alcatraz?

Ticket price for the Alcatraz cruise/tour varied from $30 – 67.

How Many Prisoners Were Housed in Alcatraz?

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Total: 1,576 inmates (the actual number might be different/fewer because some inmates served multiple terms on Alcatraz)

Average: 260 inmates

Lowest: 222 inmates

Highest: 320

Was There Any Prisoners Died in Alcatraz?

8 inmates were murdered by other inmates, 5 committed suicide, 15 died of natural causes including disease. Bodies were sent back to family members or buried in local paupers’ graves.

Is There Any Prisoner Living in Alcatraz Right Now?

No, Alcatraz was closed as a prison long time ago.

When and Why Did Alcatraz Close as a Prison?

The last inmates left Alcatraz on March 21, 1963 and the prison officially closed a month later. Deteriorating building and high operating costs are the main reason why Alcatraz was closed.

How Many Cells Are There in Alcatraz Prison?

There are 4 blocks:

A –> not used to house inmates

B and C –> has 336 cells in total for “general population”

D or also known as Isolation –> has 42 cells to house unruly inmates. Al Capone and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud ever housed D block.


Does Alcatraz Has Any Facility for Execution?

No it doesn’t. Alcatraz had no gas chamber, “death row”, or any kind of facility for executions.

Name of Notorious Prisoners in Alcatraz!

Al Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Rafael Cancel Miranda , Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. “Doc” Barker, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis

How Many Prisoners Ever Escaped from Alcatraz?

None. There are 36 prisoners who tried to escaped from 14 attempts. Most of them were recaptured, 6 inmates were shot, 2 drowned, and 5 are listed as missing and presumed drowned.  But, it is still a mystery until now for Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris in June 1962 Alcatraz escape whether they are died or alive in escape.

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More Alcatraz Images