Who’d have thought that my main thoughts upon visiting Alcatraz would be: Why is this place so tiny? Admittedly, I thought other things while I was wandering around the island. Still, this was the main thing that surprised me.
I mean, Alcatraz is probably one of the most iconic prisons in the United States. The worst of the worst. Home to Al Capone. Alcatraz, end of the line.
I guess I just never realized how small a facility it was. Sure, the island itself and all the buildings are pretty impressive. Sure, no one is known to ever have successfully escaped while Alcatraz was a federal prison. Still, the actual prison building seems kind of small.
I never realized that the average population at any given time during the operation of Alcatraz as a federal prison was 260. I think the most was somewhere in the 300s. Add in about 90 staff and that just isn’t that many. There were only four cellblocks, each about a block long and four stories high. Each just down a short hall from the last.
As I wandered around down the cellblocks, in and out of the couple of cells you could actually go in, that’s what I kept thinking about. I don’t know what I expected exactly, but I thought of the place as giant and cavernous. Hallway upon hallway. Ceilings so high your voice echoed.
That wasn’t the case, though. I’m sure it was plenty big enough for what they needed it for, but it was just so much smaller than I expected. Most prisons I’ve seen (from the outside) seem way bigger.
It just kind of struck me as funny, how nothing is ever like I expect it to be. Oh well, I’m probably just delusional.