Alcatraz is one of the most famous prisons to be found in the United States, even though it hasn’t been open for years. This prison officially closed on March 21, 1963, after operating for more than 29 years. Over the years it built up quite a reputation for itself – especially due to its location on an island making it separate from the mainland. It was a place of foreboding and the subject of stories that turned into nightmares across the country and around the world.
Why Did Alcatraz Close?
The prison officially closed down because it was too expensive to maintain. It would have required about $3 million to $5 million for further maintenance and restoration work to keep it open. This was not even taking into account the operating costs that were required daily. It was costing almost 3 times as much to operate this prison when considering the cost per capita per inmate.
Everything needed by the prison needed to be supplied by boat. Water, supplies, fuel, and food had to be carried over by boat to the prison. When you consider the amount of freshwater that would be required, the costs really started to add up! Every week approximately 1 million gallons of freshwater had to be sent by barge over to the island. The operating costs put the prison out of business.
Alcatraz Island became a Park Service site in 1972 and the doors were open to the public for Alcatraz Island tours in 1973. After its closure and before it officially became a tourist attraction, the island was abandoned. There were many proposals put on the table regarding the future of the island and the prison, including putting a statue there or a hotel and shopping center complex.
Every year more than 1 million visitors come to the island making their way here from all 4 corners of the world. It’s a fascinating area to explore and a chance to get an up-close and personal view of the most notorious prison in the world.
If you dare, book a Alcatraz day tour now for a boat cruise around the island or plan a day trip to explore the island in person. We offer various Alcatraz island tours to suit your time and budget.