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Alcatraz Island - Research Paper Example

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YOUR NAME HERE YOUR PROFESSOR NAME HERE CLASS NAME AND # HERE DATE HERE Introduction: Alcatraz Island Situated in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, a short distance from the Golden Gate Bridge, a desolate island rises in the frigid, brackish water. Atop that island is an imposing, towering building of cement surrounded by fence and barbed wire…
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Alcatraz Island Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages It was designed to be impossible to escape from, and was usually the last stop along a prison line for inmates considered “incorrigible” (Stollznow). Over the years of operation, from 1934 to 1963, thirty-six men tried fourteen different times to escape its walls (Ocean View Publishing Group). One of those was Frank Lee Morris, inmate AZ#1441 (Ocean View Publishing Group). When it was finally carried out, the escape attempt made by Frank Lee Morris, which spanned months of planning and included three other inmates, was the best escape even in its attempt by an Alcatraz inmate overall, mainly due to the meticulous nature of the planning behind it, as well as the fact that his body and 99% of the items used in the escape, even to this day, have never been found. The Escape Together with three other inmates, Morris finally succeeded in putting together a method that would enable him and the others to escape Alcatraz. One night, while trimming his nails, he noticed that the clippers had a little “arm” with a pointed edge, and by digging it into the concrete of his cell wall, he discovered that he could gouge holes in it (Katz 210). The back of his cell had a vent that was six inches by ten inches, and Morris felt that if he could somehow enlarge this, he could slide through it into the unused utility corridor behind his cell (Katz 210). From that day on, digging commenced. Morris, brothers John and Clarence Anglin, and inmate Allen West would take turns digging around the vents in their cells (Ocean View Publishing Group). Morris and West were in adjoining cells, with the Anglin brothers in the next two adjoining cells (Ocean View Publishing Group). They worked in pairs, with one man chiseling and another keeping lookout (Ocean View Publishing Group). Morris fashioned crude tools from saw blades, as well as attempting to use a homemade drill (Ocean View Publishing Group). He also stole spoons from the cafeteria, leading them to be called the “Tablespoon Trio” together with the Anglin brothers after the escape (“The Tablespoon Trio” 25). They were able to dig without any guards noticing. In addition to the digging, Morris thought through every detail. He spent months building a raft out of raincoats that were issued to the inmates (Evans). In addition, he also fashioned a life preserver for each man (Evans). Perhaps, though, the most ingenious part of the plan was the “dummy heads”. Using concrete powder, mixed with soap and papier-mache, each inmate including Morris fashioned and painted a dummy head that looked remarkably lifelike (Albright 174). They were also topped off by real hair stolen from the barbershop (Albright 174). These heads fooled the guards for months while Morris was elsewhere during the night. The night of June 11, 1962, would be the last for Morris in Alcatraz. He slipped out of his cell and climbed one last time to the cell house roof (Evans). He then, after gathering the supplies along with the Anglin brothers, made his way down 45 feet of pipe to the ground (Katz 212). The final escapee, Allen West, had made the error of cementing his false grate to the wall in places to avoid detection, and could not get it unstuck in time to join them; consequently, he was left behind (Evans). Morris inflated the raft with a “concertina” (accordion), and launched from the Northeast end of the island ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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