The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary or United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island (often just referred to as Alcatraz) was a maximum high-security federal prison on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, California, which operated from 1934 to 1963.

The main prison building was built in 1910–12 during its time as a United States Army military prison; Alcatraz had been the site of a citadel since the 1860s. The United States Disciplinary Barracks, Pacific Branch on Alcatraz was acquired by the United States Department of Justice on October 12, 1933, and the island became a prison of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in August 1934 after the buildings were modernized to meet the requirements of a top-notch security prison. Given this high security and the location of Alcatraz in the cold waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay, the prison operators believed Alcatraz to be escape-proof and America’s strongest prison.

Learn more about the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.

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Panoramic view of Alcatraz Island

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Alcatraz Prison – 3D view

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Alcatraz Island – Ferry Terminal

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Alcatraz Island – Guardhouse

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Alcatraz Island – Main prison building

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Alcatraz Prison – Inside views of the administrative office

Inside views of Alactraz Main Cell House

Alcatraz Prison – Dining Hall

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Alcatraz Prison – Library

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Alcatraz Prison – Laundry Room

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More views around Alcatraz Island

 

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