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Were All of the Escapees from Alcatraz Ultimately Caught?

The official records show that no one ever successfully escaped from "The Rock" -- the federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island that housed some of America's most hardened criminals from 1934 to 1963. Most of the 36 inmates who tried to escape were either killed or captured, or drowned in the frigid water of San Francisco Bay. Officially, however, three of those 36 would-be escapees are listed as “presumed dead,” and the reality is that no one is really sure that Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin didn’t make it to Mexico or Brazil instead.

The three robbery convicts spent months digging out through air vents in 1962, and escaped into the bay in a makeshift raft cobbled together from more than 50 pilfered raincoats. None of their bodies were found, and the FBI still maintains active arrest warrants on all three men.

Capone's home away from home:

  • Alcatraz was built as a naval defense fortification in the 1850s. It housed military prisoners from 1861 to 1933, after which the U.S. Army transferred control to the Department of Justice.

  • A maximum-security, minimum-privilege facility, Alcatraz represented the government’s attempt to crack down on the rampant crime of the 1920s and 1930s. Inmates included Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Alvin Karpis -- the first bad guy to be designated Public Enemy No. 1.

  • Alcatraz was the most expensive of all U.S. prisons to operate, primarily because of the cost of transporting fresh water to the island and evacuating waste. The National Park Service has since turned it into a popular tourist attraction.

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