Alcatraz - Netflix
Switching between eras, Alcatraz focuses on the Alcatraz prison, which was shut down in 1963 due to unsafe conditions for its prisoners and guards. The show's premise is that both the prisoners and the guards disappeared in 1963 and have abruptly reappeared in modern-day San Francisco, where they are being tracked down by a government agency.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Alcatraz - Robert Stroud - Netflix
Robert Franklin Stroud (January 28, 1890 – November 21, 1963), known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz”, was a convicted murderer, American federal prisoner and author who has been cited as one of the most notorious criminals in the United States. During his time at Leavenworth Penitentiary, he reared and sold birds and became a respected ornithologist, although regulations did not allow him to keep birds at Alcatraz, where he was incarcerated from 1942 to 1959. Stroud was never released from the federal prison system. Born in Seattle, Washington, Stroud ran away from his abusive father at the age of 13, and by the time he was 18, he had become a pimp in the Alaska Territory. In January 1909, he shot and killed a bartender who attacked one of his prostitutes, a crime for which he was sentenced to 12 years in the federal penitentiary on Puget Sound's McNeil Island. Stroud gained a reputation as a dangerous inmate who frequently had confrontations with fellow inmates and staff, and in 1916, he stabbed and killed a guard. Stroud was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to hang, but after several trials his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 1920 while in solitary confinement at Leavenworth, Stroud discovered a nest with three injured sparrows in the prison yard. He cared for them and within a few years had acquired a collection of about 300 canaries. He began extensive research into birds after being granted equipment by a prison-reforming warden. Stroud wrote Diseases of Canaries, which was smuggled out of Leavenworth and published in 1933, as well as a later edition (1943). He made important contributions to avian pathology, most notably a cure for the hemorrhagic septicemia family of diseases, gaining much respect and some level of sympathy among ornithologists and farmers. Stroud ran a successful business from inside prison, but his activities infuriated the prison staff, and he was eventually transferred to Alcatraz in 1942 after it was discovered that Stroud had been secretly making alcohol using some of the equipment in his cell. Stroud began serving a 17-year term at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on December 19, 1942, and became inmate #594. In 1943, he was assessed by psychiatrist Romney M. Ritchey, who diagnosed him as a psychopath, but with an I.Q. of 112 . Stripped of his birds and equipment, he wrote a history of the penal system. Stroud was transferred to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri in 1959, where he stayed until his death on November 21, 1963. He was incarcerated for the last 54 years of his life, 42 of which were in solitary confinement. He studied French near the end of his life. Robert Stroud is buried in Metropolis, Illinois. Author Carl Sifakis referred to Stroud as “possibly the best-known example of self-improvement and rehabilitation in the U.S. prison.”
Alcatraz - Prison life - Netflix
Known as Prisoner #1853-M, Stroud was one of the most violent prisoners at McNeil Island, frequently feuding with fellow inmates and staff, and was also prone to many different physical ailments. Stroud reportedly stabbed a fellow prisoner who reported him for stealing food from the kitchen. He also assaulted a hospital orderly who reported him to prison administration for attempting to obtain morphine through threats and intimidation. He also reportedly stabbed another inmate who was involved in the attempt to smuggle the narcotics. On September 5, 1912, Stroud was sentenced to an additional six months for the attacks, and was transferred from McNeil Island to the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. On March 26, 1916, Stroud was reprimanded by cafeteria guard Andrew F. Turner for a minor rule violation that would have annulled Stroud's visitation privilege to meet his younger brother, whom he had not seen in eight years. With a six-inch shiv, Stroud stabbed Turner through the heart. Stroud was convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing and sentenced to death by hanging by the judge, a sentence that was overturned by the court of appeals. He was convicted in a second trial on May 28, 1917, but after receiveing a life sentence, the Solicitor General John W. Davis voluntarily submitted a “confessed error” because he wanted Stroud to receive the death penalty. Stroud was tried a third time in May 1918, and on June 28, he was again sentenced to death by hanging. Stroud's mother appealed to President Woodrow Wilson and the execution was halted eight days before it was to be carried out. Stroud's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Leavenworth's warden, T. W. Morgan, strongly opposed the decision given Stroud's reputation for violence. Morgan persuaded the President to stipulate that since Stroud was originally sentenced to await his death sentence in solitary confinement, those conditions should prevail until the halted execution could be carried out. President Wilson's Attorney General, Alexander Mitchell Palmer, saw to it that Stroud was sentenced to a lifetime in solitary.
Alcatraz - References - Netflix