This past Thursday night I visited Alcatraz, the high security prison located on an island in the middle of the bay. Alcatraz is known for being the prison that housed infamous criminals such as Al Capone and Alvin “Creepy” Karpavicz. It was said, according to the on-site informational items at Alcatraz that: “Those who broke the rules went to prison, but those who broke the prison rules went to Alcatraz.” On my visit, I really got a good idea of what this meant. I took a tour around the cells and even stood in a room of the solitary confinement. There was an uneasy feeling as I attempted to put myself in the shoes of the prisoners. One part of the tour led me outside to the front yard which had a stunning view of the city skyline. It was amazing that such an terrible place was still in the heart of such a beautiful city. The juxtaposition of this prison and the city stood out the most in my tour of Alcatraz. I can imagine seeing the city but not being able to go was certainly tormenting to the prisoners who saw the buildings and lights just a few miles across the water. On a bigger scale though it made me think of the actual malice, danger and poverty that lied within the city. It was a reminder that while San Francisco does seem to be like a fantasy world, that there lies a darker reality that we should be cognizant of, though not too worried about.


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