Lead: The regimen on “the Rock” was incredibly severe. Hardened criminals, were often reduced to babbling by the silence, the isolation, the discipline. The residents called it Helcatraz.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1930s the battle against urban crime seemed to be going against the forces of law and order. The aggressive young director of the FBI, J Edgar Hoover, convinced U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings, that the solution lay in creating a “super prison” where hardened, intractable male prisoners serving long sentences could be sent. Word was out that the military had grown weary of the high cost of maintaining Alcatraz, its isolated outpost in the middle of outer San Francisco Bay. Cummings and Hoover decided to take over the island for their maximum security prison. Not only did it have the facilities, its distance from land, the closest mainland point being a mile away, and the treacherous tidal currents that swirled in and out of the Golden Gate, was thought to make escape nigh to impossible. They chose Alcatraz and James A. Johnston to run it.

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