Alcatraz Escapes

By: Alison Cole

Due to its isolated location and the freezing San Francisco Bay waters, the authorities considered Alcatraz as an ideal place for holding dangerous prisoners. Alcatraz operated for a full 29 years and during that time; there had been no known case of any successful escape attempts.

There were 14 cases of escape attempts in Alcatraz. Most of the escapees were either caught or shot dead while some of them were presumed drowned in the San Francisco Bay waters. Joe Bowers made the first escape attempt on April 27, 1936. Bowers was shot by an officer stationed in the West road guard tower while attempting to climb over the chain link fence at the island's edge. Bowers died from injuries sustained from the fall.

Four inmates, James Boarman, Harold Brest, Floyd Hamilton, and Fred Hunter took two officers hostage while at work in the industries area in April 1943. One inmate was shot dead, two apprehended and one disappeared for two days but was later caught by correctional officers.

In May 1946, six prisoners - Bernard Coy, Joe Cretzer, Marvin Hubbard, Sam Shockley, Miran Thompson, and Clarence Carnes took control of the cell house by force. When prison officials tried to thwart the escape attempt, the prisoners decided to fight back and eventually killed two officers. Two of the inmates received the death penalty and were executed in San Quentin. This episode in the history of Alcazar is known as "The Battle of Alcazar"

The most famous escape, popularized by the movie, "Escape from Alcatraz", was made by Frank Morris, John and his brother, Clarence Anglin. These three inmates disappeared from their cells and the Island on June 11, 1962. There is no evidence that they ever reached the shore, so they are officially listed as "missing and presumed drowne

Suggested
North America Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on North America Destinations
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles