The Alcaraz Federal Penitentiary was supposed to be escape proof, because it was on a rocky island in San Francisco Bay. Even if escapes did happen, no one could swim the bay, so the former military prison on the island was converted to a Federal Prison. Yet it was a different kind of prison, only populated by people who had already caused problems at other Federal Prisons. This made Alcatraz notorious for hosting the most infamous criminals in America, men like Al Capone, Mickey Cohen, and Creepy Karpis, despite the fact it closed after 29 years. But it became a famous prison as soon as it accepted its first prisoners.
Which is What Happened Today, August 11, in 1934.