Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There's No Escape

Alcatraz Island, California
The Rock looks foreboding as we get closer and closer.

Just in case you feel drawn toward the island, this sign makes it clear you should stay away.

Alcatraz is only 1.5 miles away from San Francisco but escaping meant braving the cold waters.

Birds have taken over this island. It is home to many species, including seagulls, herons, egrets, and cormorants.

Walking into Alcatraz Penitentiary is like walking into a black and white photo. The deep blue waters of the bay and the bright green of the grass are all outside. Inside is gray.

Each inmate had his own 5' x 9' cell.

A list of regulations governed all the details of the prisoners' lives.

Regulation #30 CELLHOUSE RULES
At the wake-up bell in the morning you must get out of bed and put on your clothes. Make up your bed properly (as shown in the diagram on Page #8) with your pillow at the end near the bars, blankets tucked neatly under the mattress, and extra blankets folded neatly at the foot of the bed. Sweep your cell and place the trash in the trash basket.

Alcatraz was reserved for the worst criminals.

Among the baddest of them all, was the Polka of Alcatraz. Her quick shooting skills landed her in the joint for life.

Polka's partner in crime was Mike "Shifty Eyes."

There is no escape from the bars. Even the shadows mock you.

Regulation #42 YARD PRIVILEGES
Exercise yard rules: All inmates in good standing are allowed the yard privilege on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays, if the weather permits.

I wonder how many only saw the outside world through these dusty dining room windows.

Regulation #33 DINING ROOM RULES
Meals are served three times a day in the dining room. Do not exceed the ration. Do not waste food. Do not carry food from the dining room.

The glass case surrounding a guard's uniform reflects some tourists.

Looking into the offices it seems as if time froze.

Regulation # 21 WORK
You are required to work at whatever you are told to do.

There's even a date stamp. I'm guessing it's from 1952, but I'm not sure of the significance. Anyone know?

Inmates who did not follow the regulations were sent here.

The prison hospital is the creepiest of all. I feel like I'm in a horror movie.

Medical attention is available to all inmates.

This looks like a torture chamber!

That hospital gave me the chills. I could not get out of there fast enough!

I believe that's the guard quarters, with San Francisco gleaming in the distance.

We finished the tour listening to some more prison stories.

The island no longer belongs to the Birdman of Alcatraz.

Regulation #3 STATUTORY GOOD TIME, MERITORIOUS GOOD TIME AND INDUSTRIAL GOOD TIME are types of reduction in sentence which can be earned only by inmates who establish and keep a good conduct record and a good work record.

Thank you to the National Park Service for all of their hard work in preserving history. I highly recommend the Alcatraz Tour for anyone visiting the Bay area. Quick tip: Be sure to reserve your tickets early as they sell out fast. We bought ours a month ahead of time and the night tour the day before ours was sold out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice pictures!

September 11, 2008 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Smuah said...

Great stuff Aleks. I remember when we were in San Francisco for the 1.5 days we were there prior to out Alaskan Cruise. We stayed at the hotel on Nob Hill and got to visit Ghiardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and Alcatraz Island.

September 12, 2008 8:07 AM  
Blogger Polka Photos said...

It's a pretty awesome city isn't it? We can't wait to go back.

September 12, 2008 11:58 AM  

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