21 Mar: Last Days of Alcatraz

The world’s most famous high-security jail, Alcatraz, evicted its last prisoner on 21st March, 1963. Met by a huge crowd of reporters who asked him what he thought of ‘the rock’, armed robber Frank Weatherman responded, “Alcatraz was never no good for nobody.”

For nearly thirty years the island prison had built a reputation as ‘inescapable’, but in 1962 three men did indeed manage to escape, and were never found, dead or alive. The costs of running the facility sealed its fate: at a cost of $10 per day per prisoner, it cost three times more to run than a typical American prison.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the state-of-the-art security features the prison had when it opened; revisit the 1935 Christmas menu dished up in the mess hall; and review some bad-taste souvenirs offered up in the modern-day gift shop… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Alcatraz closes its doors’ (HISTORY, 2020): https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/alcatraz-closes-its-doors

• ‘Alcatraz Prison Was Apparently an Excellent Place to Eat’ (Bon Appetit): https://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/article/alcatraz-prison-food

• ‘Last prisoners leaving Alcatraz Island’ (Universal International News, 1963): ​​