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ALCATRAZ Alcatraz was a famous federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay The island stands on twelve acres of solid rock and therefore was often called The Rock More than one mile of water separates it from the mainland World Book Encyclopedia 333 There are prisons and then there is Alcatraz Many said it was escape-proof many said it was the prototype prison Alactrazs history famous prisoners and schedules made this prison one of the most famous penitentiaries in the world World Book Encyclopedia 333 When Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala explored the island in 1775 only a small amount of vegetation and seabirds were living there He named the area Isla de los Alcatraces which means Isle of the Pelicans It was sold in 1849 to the United States government and was the first site of a lighthouse on the coast of California After the lighthouse was built other buildings went up and in 1868 the island was made into a residence for military offenders World Book Encyclopedia 333 In 1930 the Federal Bureau of Prisons was established and Sanford Bates was appointed as director The bureau established an assortment of prisons by buying or building them These prisons ranged from minimum-security to maximum-security such as Alcatraz to hospitals for federal prisons Roberts 157 Then from 1934 to 1963 Alcatraz became the Federal Bureau of Prisons super maximum custody facility It was the countrys prototype prison and the bureau placed its most violent and vicious inmates there Roberts 159 In 1933 James A Johnston became warden at Alcatraz He was given the chance to oversee the remodeling of the facility during the shift from military to federal prison He installed new tool-proof cell fronts and added new towers and barbed wire around the entire prison and beach He also installed new gun centers inside the cell house tear gas canisters
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