A view of Alcatraz from the San Francisco Harbor. Alcatraz Island, commonly referred to as The Rock, is a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963. It became a national recreation area in 1972 and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986.
Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours.
During its 29 years of operation, the penitentiary claimed no prisoners as having ever successfully escaped. 36 prisoners were involved in 14 attempts, two men trying twice; seven were shot and killed, and two drowned. The most violent occurred on 2 May 1946 when a failed escape attempt by six prisoners led to the so-called “Battle of Alcatraz”.