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The Most Notorious Inmates inside Alcatraz Prison

Posted by GrayLineofSanFrancisco on March 7, 2020

Some of the most dangerous prisoners in United States history were housed behind the walls of the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary from 1934 to 1963. This was the place where the most hardened criminals were sent and included the following inmates:

Al Capone - Al Capone sold liquor illegally and outwardly bragged about his activities to the press. It was suspected that he was murdering his enemies using hit men but it could never be proven. He eventually wound up at Alcatraz based on tax evasion charges and for trying to escape another prison.

Machine Gun Kelly - Kelly was a notorious kidnapper and an expert machine gunner. Once he arrived at Alcatraz, however, he turned into a model prisoner.


Arthur ‘Doc’ Barker - Barker worked together with his brother and together they committed a number of crimes including murder, kidnapping and robbery. He was killed during an escape attempt from the prison.

Robert Stroud - This man became known as the Birdman of Alcatraz. During his years spent at the Leavenworth prison in Kansas, before Alcatraz, he raised a number of birds in his cell. He didn't really raise birds at Alcatraz and was feared by both guards and prisoners. Although he really liked birds, Stroud was not a people person.

James ‘Whitey’ Bulger - Bulger started out his criminal career with armed robbery. He was sent to the Atlanta Penitentiary and while he was there he volunteered for a CIA experimental program and was given LSD amongst other harmful drugs. When it was found out that he was planning a prison escape in 1959, he was sent to Alcatraz. Following his release from prison in 1965 he was convicted of a total of 11 murders and was sent to the Florida Coleman Penitentiary to serve out 2 life sentences.

Clarence and John Anglin - These brothers were both sent to Alcatraz following a bank robbery and attempted escapes from other prisons. Once there, they planned an escape and used spoons and saw blades to burrow into the cement near the back of their cells. They constructed a raft using raincoats and on June 11, 1962, the brothers along with fellow inmate Frank Morris made their way to the bay. This is the last place they were seen. While it's unlikely that they survived the frigid cold weather of the water, there are legends of their escape survival even today.

Learn more about the Alcatraz prison and its history by booking a tour today!

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