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Famous Criminals

Al Capone
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Al Capone

Al Capone still remains one of the most notable residents of "the Rock." In a memoir written by Warden James Johnston, he reminisced about the intensity of public interest around Capone's imprisonment, stating that he was continually barraged with questions about "Big Al." Each day newspapers and press flooded his office with phone calls, wanting to know everything from how Capone liked the weather on "the Rock," to what job assignment he was currently holding.

Before arriving at Alcatraz, Capone had been a master at manipulating his environment at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta. Despite strict convictions from the courts, Capone was always able to persuade his keepers into procuring his every whim, and often dictated his own privileges. It was said that he had convinced many guards to work for him, and his cell boasted expensive furnishings which included personal bedding along with many other amenities not extended to other inmates serving lesser crimes. His cell was carpeted, and also had a radio around which many of the guards would sit with Al conversing and listening to their favorite radio serials. His friends and family maintained residence in a nearby hotel, and each day he was flooded with visitors.

Capone started his life of crime at a young age. Rumored to have started pimping prostitutes before reaching puberty, he was raised on the tough streets of Brooklyn and earned extra money as a bouncer in various brothels. By the age of twenty, Capone had moved to Chicago and was managing a popular nightclub named The Four Deuces. By 1924, Capone had his hand in various rackets, including prostitution rings, bootlegging, and gambling houses and was believed to be earning over $100,000 per week.

Alphose Capone

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Al Capone
 

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