10 Famous U.S. prisons
Location: San Francisco
Year opened: 1934 (closed 1963)
Inmate population: 336
Facts: During its 29 year history Alcatraz incarcerated 1,576 prisoners
-- from Robert Stroud, "The Birdman of Alcatraz," to Alvin Karpis,
the first public enemy No. 1. There were 14 escape attempts from "The
Rock." The prison closed in 1963 because it was too costly to operate
-- nearly 1 million gallons of water were shipped to the island each week.
Alcatraz is now a national park site -- it has nearly 1 million visitors
Location: Angola, La.
Year opened: 1835
Inmate population: 5,108
Facts: Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is America's largest maximum-security
prison. The prison sits on 18,000 acres of farmland-- corn and soybeans
are the primary crops. It also has a herd of 1,500 cattle. Angola is the
only prison in America that offers a college degree program on prison
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Year opened: 1902
Facts: Until Boulder Dam was built in 1932, Atlanta Federal Penitentiary
was the largest cement mass in America. In 1920 inmate Eugene V. Debs
ran for president of the United States from his jail cell, and won 3.5
percent of the vote. His sentence was commuted a year later, on Christmas
Day, by President Warren G. Harding. In 1931, Al Capone began to serve
his sentence for tax evasion at Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.
Location: Attica, N.Y.
Year opened: 1931
Inmate population: 2,200
Facts: In 1971, 1,300 prisoners staged a four-day rebellion and took over
Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Forty-two people were
killed, including 10 hostages. Nearly 1,500 police and National Guardsmen
stormed the prison to quell the riot.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Year opened: 1829 (closed 1971)
Inmate population: 1,700 at its peak in the 1920s
Facts: Eastern State Penitentiary was one of the earliest American prisons.
Its radial floor plan was copied throughout the world by more than 300
prisons. The prisoners were isolated, forced to reflect on their crimes
and become penitent. This new Quaker-inspired prison was dubbed a penitentiary.
The prison closed after 142 years and is now a museum.
Folsom State Prison
Location: Represa, Calif.
Year opened: 1880
Inmate population: 7,246
Facts: Folsom was one of America's first maximum-security prisons. It's
now a medium-security facility. In 1968, country singer Johnny Cash put
the prison and himself on the map. Cash performed a live a concert and
released a hit album titled "Folsom Prison Blues."
Location: Leavenworth, Kan.
Year opened: 1906
Inmate population: 1,642
Facts: Leavenworth's walls are 40 feet high and extend 40 feet below ground.
Robert Stroud, "The Birdman of Alcatraz," spent 30 years at
Leavenworth, and this is where he gained worldwide fame as a bird expert.
Location: Steilacoom, Wash.
Year opened: 1875
Inmate population: 908
Facts: McNeil Island is 2.25 miles wide and 3 miles long, and it's the
oldest prison in the Northwest. The remote Washington state prison is
the last prison in America located on an island that's only accessible
by boat or helicopter. Charles Manson was an inmate here from 1961 to
Location: San Quentin, Calif.
Year opened: 1852
Inmate population: 5,967
Facts: Overlooking San Francisco Bay, San Quentin is California's oldest
correctional institution, and it houses the state's only gas chamber.
Charles Manson and stagecoach-robber Black Bart were inmates at San Quentin.
Location: Ossining, N.Y.
Year opened: 1825
Inmate population: 1,533
Facts: The phrase "up the river" refers to prisoners being sent
up the Hudson River from New York to Sing Sing prison. The prison is closely
associated with the electric chair, and between 1890 and 1963, 613 men
and women were executed by this method. In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
were put to death at Sing Sing for espionage during the Cold War.