Criminal logo

What was the "perfect escape" from Alcatraz?

This maximum-security federal penitentiary was created in San Francisco Bay to house the worst of the worst. It is one of the most guarded prisons ever built. If they managed to sneak past the top prison security, they would face a risky two-mile swim to shore in turbulent waters. The jail was thought to be impenetrable, and anyone who tried was either soon apprehended or drowned in the sea below. Until June 11th, 1962, escaping had a 0% success rate. What really took place on that mysterious date.

By Infographics ShowPublished 10 days ago 9 min read
Most Insane Prison Break 👣⛓🔦

This maximum-security federal penitentiary was created in San Francisco Bay to house the worst of the worst. It is one of the most guarded prisons ever built. If they managed to sneak past the top prison security, they would face a risky two-mile swim to shore in turbulent waters. The jail was thought to be impenetrable, and anyone who tried was either soon apprehended or drowned in the sea below. Until June 11th, 1962, escaping had a 0% success rate. What really took place on that mysterious date. 👣⛓🔦

  • Alcatraz Isle. This maximum-security federal penitentiary was built to house the worst of the worst and is one of the most secure prisons ever constructed. It is situated in San Francisco Bay. Anyone who managed to evade the strict prison security would have to swim two miles in choppy water, which would be extremely dangerous. Everyone who attempted to escape the prison was quickly captured or perished in the water below. It was thought to be an impassable prison. Up until June 11th, 1962, there had been no successful escapes. Here is the day-by-day account of what happened on that enigmatic date. October 12th, 1933 The Island had long been under the control of the federal government, and it served a well-known function as a prison.
  • It had been used by the Army as a disciplinary barracks, and the remote setting was a perfect setting for disobedient or reckless soldiers to assess their behavior and reflect before being returned to their unit or dishonorably discharged. The government had no use for the existing prison when they bought the land because they wanted to construct something much more intimidating, but it was also a barracks and not a maximum security penitentiary. The completion time would be close to a year. The Federal Bureau of Prisons had been modernizing the facility for the previous year in order to make it one of the most secure prisons in the country by August 11th, 1934.
  • It even had one of the first metal detectors ever installed in a prison, as well as radio equipment for communication with the mainland. All that remained was to fill the prison with the intended population, and they had a particular group in mind. The worst of the worst, the most dangerous criminals, and those who frequently caused trouble at other prisons were to be housed at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. It was intended to serve as the line's conclusion. This was the day that the first boatload of prisoners from the notorious federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, would arrive on Alcatraz Island. Most of them were bank robbers and killers, with a few counterfeiters thrown in for good measure.
  • Hundreds more would arrive over the ensuing weeks, and by the following year, the prison would house close to 250 inmates. As a result of frequent inmate fights and even murders, it quickly gained a reputation as the toughest prison in America. However, as long as the prisoners remained on Hellcatraz, where they belonged, the Bureau of Prisons was largely okay with that. They succeeded, but not without trying. April 27th, 1936 Joseph Bowers, a convicted armed robber, was the first prisoner to attempt an escape from Alcatraz. When he ran for the chain link fence leading to the shore, the prisoner—who was on duty at the incinerator for trash—was burning trash.
  • The guards quickly cornered him and ordered him to stop. However, when he persisted in climbing, they shot him, and he later died from his wounds after falling. He did leave Alcatraz Island, but not in the manner he had hoped. But there is always the possibility of freedom, and soon another prisoner tried to flee toward the coast. Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe did not intend to end up like Bowers, but it is important to learn from mistakes. This was on December 16, 1937. The two bank robbers were in Alcatraz because of their prior escape attempts and knew one another from Oklahoma. In order to avoid being seen by the guard towers, these two managed to break through iron bars and sneak out of a prison workshop on a foggy day.
  • The strong currents quickly carried them away after they leaped into the water below, and they were never seen again. Even though their bodies were never discovered, it is highly unlikely that they could have survived because they never got close to the shore. But just because you gain knowledge from past failures doesn't guarantee success. On January 13th, 1939, numerous attempts had been made to elude capture, but none had been successful. Prisoners would assault security personnel, smash windows, and scale the roof, but they were all apprehended. The following groups of detainees to attempt a real escape were Arthur Doc Barker, William Martin, Rufus McCain, Henri Young, and Dale Stamphill.
  • A mixed group of gang leaders and bank robbers were all kept in the prison's most secure section. They were clever enough not to try to swim for it when they managed to escape the prison one night and make their way to the shore. They made an improvised raft, but there wasn't enough time, and the guards surrounded them. The rest were put in solitary confinement with plenty of time to reflect on their mistakes after the ringleader, Barker, was killed. But they would learn from their errors and do better. April 14th, 1943—since then, there have been additional attempts to escape; one man even entered the water, but quickly swam back to shore after realizing he was going to drown.
  • However, four men would soon approach closer than anyone had. The escape by James Boarman, Harold Marin Brest, Floyd Garland Hamilton, and Fred John Hunter was well thought out. They made flotation devices out of cans and cut window bars in the prison workshop. They managed to escape the building after overpowering two guards and leaving them bound and gagging, but they were only able to take two of the four cans with them. One of the guards broke free, whistling to warn the other guards. Two hid out in a small cave on the island before they were discovered, ending their anticlimactic attempt to flee; one was shot and one was captured. But perhaps they were working harder than they were thinking.
  • July 31, 1945 John K. Giles was one of Alcatraz's more unassuming prisoners, but in reality, he was a ruthless killer and train robber. After numerous attempts to flee, he was eventually transferred to Alcatraz, where he wasted no time returning to his old tricks. He spent time gathering pieces of an Army uniform from the laundry room until he had a full uniform because he knew it was impossible to swim to shore. In order to return to the mainland, he then pretended to be a soldier and boarded a ferry. The only issue He probably wasn't the only one to think of that, and before leaving, the ship's captain checked the passenger list and discovered they had one extra.
  • Giles was the closest to an actual escapee so far, but he was caught and immediately returned to Alcatraz. And the situation was about to become explosive. Between May 2 and 4, 1946, no one had been able to escape from Alcatraz Island, but six experienced criminals weren't going to let that stop them. Long-term prisoners Bernard Coy, Joseph Cretzer, Sam Shockley, Clarence Carnes, Marvin Hubbard, and Miran Thompson overpowered corrections officers and took charge of the cell house. They now had access to weapons and keys, both of which had never been obtained by previous escapees. The outside door's keys weren't part of that set, perhaps to avoid this particular circumstance, as they soon discovered.
  • They had planned to steal a boat and escape to land. So they made the decision to fight. They took two guards hostage and killed both of them in what would come to be known as the Battle of Alcatraz. While the other three criminals withdrew back to their cells, the other three resisted the US Marines and were all killed. Perhaps Carnes, Shockley, and Thompson thought they could escape punishment if they returned to their cells, but all three were tried for the guards' murder, and two of them were executed by gas chamber, with the youngest, Carnes, receiving a second life sentence. It was obvious how bad things had gotten, and the authorities were going to take harsh action.
  • September 29th, 1958: In the twelve years following the Battle of Alcatraz, there had only been two known escape attempts, with one criminal managing to escape the jail but choosing to simply wander around the rocks once he realized he had no way to reach the mainland. Then, on September 29, 1958, two prisoners believed their chance for success had finally come. Overpowering a security guard, Aaron Burgett and Clyde Johnson dove into the water wearing finned wooden boards and plastic bags they hoped would float. It had some promise, but it fell flat. Burgett drowned in the attempt, and Johnson was quickly apprehended by the police. But don't tell that to these guys.
  • It seemed almost impossible to escape Alcatraz. Let's go back in time a little because four prisoners were about to storm Alcatraz. In 1957, Allen West was misbehaving. The New York City native, who was only 28 years old, had been detained more than 20 times throughout his life. He was only 28 years old and was serving an extended sentence for car theft at Florida State Prison when he made an attempt to escape. This put him on the government's radar, and he was soon headed to Alcatraz, where he became inmate AZ1335. He lived there in relative obscurity for the first few years. However, he was about to have some company. Frank Morris had a difficult life because his parents left him when he was eleven.
  • He was born on January 20, 1960. He entered the system, moving around from foster home to foster home, and by the time he was a teenager, he was involved in crime. He was infamous for drug possession, armed robberies, and other simple crimes by the time he was just entering adulthood. As an adult, he would become more violent and start robbing banks and stealing cars, which would eventually land him in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. When he broke free from his 10-year sentence, he was caught breaking into a house and was later arrested. The cunning criminal, who reportedly had an IQ of 133, would be sent to Alcatraz on January 20th, 1960. He was one of the smartest inmates at the time.
  • However, two heads are always better than one. John and Clarence Anglin were two of thirteen children born to a farmworker family that frequently moved on January 10, 1961, so they never had to worry about being alone. The two brothers got along well and had excellent swimming skills. However, they lacked good judgment, beginning with Clarence's adolescent break-in to a gas station. By the time they were in their 20s, they had mastered the art of robbing businesses and banks. Although they mainly targeted shuttered businesses and infrequently used weapons, they received 35-year sentences for robbing an Alabama bank. On January 10th, 1961, the bad-news brothers were sent to Alcatraz after numerous failed attempts to flee.
  • However, the prison was unaware that these four components would combine explosively. December 1961: Although the backgrounds of the four prisoners varied greatly, they had all previously visited prisons in Florida and Georgia, where they had all met.

tv reviewtravelracial profilingproduct reviewphotographymovie reviewmafiajuryinvestigationinterviewinnocenceincarcerationhow toguiltyfictionfact or fictioncelebritiescartelcapital punishmentbook reviews

About the Creator

Infographics Show

The Infographics Show

The Infographics Show is a team of brilliant and talented writers whose sole purpose is to make writing fun and entertaining for people of all ages with eye-catching images, which are mind blowing and fun. Enjoy.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.