Our Blog

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a maximum high-security prison located on Alcatraz Island just off the coast of San Francisco. It was originally built as an army prison for the United States in 1910-1912 but was later improved to house America’s most notorious criminals in 1934.


In the time the prison was operating it housed 1,576 prisoners including Al Capone, George Kelly and Robert Franklin Stroud. It also provided living areas for staff and their families. On March 21, 1963 Alcatraz closed due to high maintenance costs.


Wikipedia stated that “Working at the prison was considered a privilege for inmates and many of the better inmates were employed in the Model Industries Building and New Industries Building during the day, actively involved in providing for the military in jobs such as sewing and woodwork and performing various maintenance and laundry chores.”

The penitentiary included a visitation room, barber shop, library, dining hall, kitchen and hospital as well as the 2.7m by 1.5m cells. The cells contained a bed, desk, toilet, and sink. The corridors of the prison were named after American streets.

You can find a lot of photos from the location in our Alcatraz Prison Island reference pack.

Previous Post →