Al Capone in Alcatraz: How the Notorious Gangster Spent His Time in the Famous Prison


To Americans of the 1920s and ‘30s, he was the notorious gangster Scarface Al, Public Enemy No. 1. But when he arrived at Alcatraz in late August of 1934, Alphonse “Al” Capone took on a more humbling name: Prisoner 85.

As Prisoner 85, Al Capone led a very different life from his freewheeling days at the top of the Chicago rackets. He became a serious reader, a musician and a composer. A model prisoner, he kept a low profile, did his prison chores and rarely resorted to violence unless he was provoked—in one instance bashing a fellow inmate’s head with a bedpan.


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