5 Facts You Didn't Know About Alcatraz

Alcatraz is perhaps one of the most famous prisons in America. While you can take a tour of this prison today, you can also experience what it’s like to break out of jail when you visit the Alcatraz escape room at Trapped Escape Game in Nashville. Book your adventure today!

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Al Capone played banjo in the inmate band

Al Capone was also among the first prisoners to take up residence in the new federal prison on Alcatraz. He had bribed guards to receive preferential treatment while imprisoned in Atlanta, but that changed once he was transferred. The conditions were so strict that he became cooperative and was permitted to play banjo in the prison band, which was called the Rock Islanders, and gave regular concerts on Sundays for other inmates.

There were no confirmed prisoner escapes from Alcatraz

While there were many attempts on the part of prisoners to escape from Alcatraz, no one was successful. In fact, of the 36 inmates who tried, 23 were captured, six were shot to death, and two drowned. The remaining five went missing and were presumed drowned. While their possessions were found floating in San Francisco Bay, no bodies were ever found. As a result, some speculate that they may have been successful.

It was possible to swim to shore

Initially, federal officials didn’t think it was possible that an inmate who tried to escape would be able to survive a swim through the frigid and swift waters of San Francisco Bay. However, they were proved wrong when John Paul Scott greased himself with lard, squeezed through a window, and swam to shore. While he managed to reach the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, he was unconscious and in hypothermic shock.

In spite of his nickname, the “Birdman of Alcatraz” had no birds in Alcatraz

Robert Stroud was in Leavenworth Prison for killing a bartender in a brawl. President Wilson commuted his death sentence to life in solitary confinement. While he was at Leavenworth, Robert began to study ornithological diseases and raise canaries and other birds in his cell. He had to give up his birds in 1931 and was banned from having any more birds in his cell. Robert Stroud was transferred to Alcatraz in 1942 for fatally stabbing a guard at Leavenworth Prison.

Inmates requested transfers to Alcatraz

This fact may come as a surprise to many. Prisoners requested transfers to Alcatraz because of the one-man-per-cell policy, which made them less vulnerable to attacks from other inmates. Additionally, the first warden, James A. Johnston knew that poor food was one of the primary reasons for riots. As a result, he made sure that good food was served and that inmates could get as many helpings of food as they wished.

Escape Room Nashville

Come visit Trapped Escape Game in Nashville to test your skills in our escape rooms. Be sure to book your adventure in the room of your choice: Survival, Alcatraz, Capone, Haunted Cabin, and Asylum. Book today!