Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 10 years ago

Why is Alcatraz no longer in operation? I see no reason it can't be used anymore?

It seems like a good facility just going to waste (aside the money that the tourist board rakes in), so why is it no longer in commission?

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Best answer

    On March 21, 1963, USP Alcatraz closed after 29 years of operation. It did not close because of the disappearance of Morris and the Anglins (the decision to close the prison was made long before the three disappeared), but because the institution was too expensive to continue operating. An estimated $3-5 million was needed just for restoration and maintenance work to keep the prison open. That figure did not include daily operating costs - Alcatraz was nearly three times more expensive to operate than any other Federal prison (in 1959 the daily per capita cost at Alcatraz was $10.10 compared with $3.00 at USP Atlanta). The major expense was caused by the physical isolation of the island - the exact reason islands have been used as prisons throughout history. This isolation meant that everything (food, supplies, water, fuel...) had to be brought to Alcatraz by boat. For example, the island had no source of fresh water, so nearly one million gallons of water had to be barged to the island each week. The Federal Government found that it was more cost-effective to build a new institution than to keep Alcatraz open.

    After the Prison

    After the prison closed, Alcatraz was basically abandoned. Many ideas were proposed for the island, including a monument to the United Nations, a West Coast version of the Statue of Liberty, and a shopping center/hotel complex. In 1969, the island again made news when a group of Native American Indians claimed Alcatraz as Indian land with the hope of creating a Native American cultural center and education complex on the island. The "Indians of All Tribes" used their act of civil disobedience to illustrate the troubles faced by Native Americans. Initially, public support for the Native Americans' cause was strong, and thousands of people (general public, schoolchildren, celebrities, hippies, Vietnam war protesters, Hells Angels...) came to the island over the next 18 months. Unfortunately, the small Native American leadership group could not control the situation and much damage occurred (graffiti, vandalism, and a fire that destroyed the lighthouse keeper's home, the Warden's home, and the Officers' Club). In June 1971, Federal Marshals removed the remaining Native Americans from the island.

    In 1972, Congress created the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Alcatraz Island was included as part of the new National Park Service unit. The island opened to the public in the fall of 1973 and has become one of the most popular Park Service sites - more than one million visitors from around the world visit the island each year.

  • 3 years ago

    Alcatraz Years Of Operation

  • Peace
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    You havnt looked very hard...

    It's expensive to operate and it's crumbling cell blocks would need almost complete reconstruction. Essentially, it would cost a fortune to renovate. Plus, with the costs of transporting all goods to an island in the middle of the bay, its just too expensive to justify.

    Essentially, you've asked why the Titanic is no longer in operate. You see no reason why it cant be used.

    The answer is that it's a rusted out hulk at the bottom of the ocean.

  • 10 years ago

    I've heard it's too expensive to operate a facility there. Not sure, but I thought I remember a portion of it being given back to native americans.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Was asking myself the same question

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