Although Alcatraz Prison had since been repaired to a workable condition, the battle scars of Bernie Coy’s 1946 violent failed escape remained visible throughout the cell house. Areas of the floor were chipped, cracked, and faded black from where grenades had detonated.
In response to The Battle of Alcatraz that resulted in the deaths of two correctional officers, the imposing prison tightened its grip on its inmates. The stricter control was used to readjust the kinds of rebellious attitudes and behaviours that led to the siege in the first place – and aimed to crush all thoughts of escape.
In the ten years following The Battle of Alcatraz no inmates attempted an escape. It seemed the temptation had been overtaken by fear of death. However, the thought of escape never left the minds of battered inmates who resented Alcatraz and sought freedom. As days dragged on and felt like eternity, inmates found solace in passing the time by dreaming up elaborate escape plans and thinking of ways to get out of Alcatraz once and for all.
Every morning at 6:30 am inmates woke to the piercing sound of the morning whistle. They rose, made their beds, cleaned up their cells, and washed themselves in preparation for breakfast. By 7:15 am a second whistle blew signalling the start of the ‘count’. Inmates stood at the bars of their cell while a passing guard took a head count. It was no different on the morning of June 12th, 1962. Inmates leant against the bars as guards walked past counting. Oddly, the guards realised they were missing three. Thinking they must have miscalculated, they walked back along the corridors and recounted, but they got the same result. Three inmates were missing...
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