Today in History: Prisoners land on Alcatraz

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Alcatraz by the Numbers
81 years ago today, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island. On August 11, 1934, the "most dangerous" prisoners in the United States were put on the mysterious island situated 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco.

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The island of Alcatraz was thought to be ideal for dangerous prisoners, especially those with who had made previous escape attempts. The first shipment of prisoners arrived on August 11, and in late August month, infamous mobster Al Capone joined the bunch.



The prison ran for 29 years before being closed in 1963, due to the high costs of maintaining the island. In 1972, Alcatraz was re-opened, not as a jail, but as a historical landmark. It is maintained by the National Park Service and is a prominent tourist attraction to more than one million visitors each year.

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Today in History: Prisoners land on Alcatraz
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1900: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
View along a cell block in Alcatraz Penitentiary, San Francisco, California, March 20, 1911. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
A police mug shot of Canadian-born Gangster Alvin 'Creepy' Karpis (1907 - 1979), circa 1930. Best known for his alliance with the Barker gang in the U.S. in the early 1930s, Karpis was the last so-called 'Public Enemy' to be arrested and spent longer (25 years) in prison on Alcatraz Island than any other inmate there. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1933: A photograph of Jewish-American gangster Irving Wexler, aka Waxey Gordon, who was convicted of income tax evasion in 1933. He was released, but later convicted of selling narcotics and sent to Alcatraz, where he died in 1952. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
View dated 1930's of the Alcatraz island and penitentiary, in the San Francisco Bay. From the mid 1930's until the mid 1960's, Alcatraz ('the Rock') was America's premier maximum-security prison, the final stop for the nation's most incorrigible inmates, including Al Capone. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
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According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the United States has the highest prison population in the world:


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Today in History: Prisoners land on Alcatraz

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This Day in History: August 11th, 1934

Prisoners land on Alcatraz

81 years ago today, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island. On August 11, 1934, the "most dangerous" prisoners in the United States were put on the mysterious island situated 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco.

Read the full story here

(Photo by Andres Rodriguez)

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The first electric traffic light was installed

The first ever electric traffic signal was introduced in Cleveland, Ohio, at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street on August 5, 1914.

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This Day in History: August 4th, 1944

Anne Frank was captured

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