Alcatraz Escapes: 14 Breakout Attempts from the Island Prison


Ever since Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary opened as a maximum-security lockup in 1934 on a desolate island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, officials touted it as “America’s most secure prison.” During its nearly 30 years of operation, inmates put that reputation to the test with a litany of escape attempts ranging from the tame to the outrageous.

Over those three decades, the infamous prison known as “The Rock” housed more than 1,500 inmates, including some of the most notorious and dangerous men in America. In that span, 36 inmates tried to escape in 14 separate daring breakout attempts:


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