By David Ward, Gene Kassebaum
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Extra resources for Alcatraz: The Gangster Years
Prison employees had been strictly forbidden to talk with anyone about prisoners or events on the island; reporters had never been allowed to visit or talk to prisoners; nearly all communication between the island and the outside world had been effectively shut off. Even after the prison ceased operations, former members of the prison staff continued to assume they could not talk about Alcatraz to anyone outside the Bureau of Prisons. In addition, the Bureau had never undertaken any systematic documentation of policies, procedures, and events on the island prison.
The inferior convict who became unruly in such purgatories as Fort Leavenworth and Atlanta was threatened with a transfer to the full-fledged inferno of Alcatraz. Thus, the quality of the rotten eggs in the general basket would be improved by picking out the most putrid ones for individual wrapping. . It may not be easy to wax sentimental about the tough hides of such personages as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. . They must be securely segregated, of course, for the protection of the law-abiding population.
Candace Kruttschnitt, my friend and colleague at the University of Minnesota, offered enthusiastic support for this project for many years—or was it decades? Professor Irving Tallman from Washington State University wrote hard-nosed reviews of our research findings and how they were presented, but this longtime friend’s most important contribution, particularly after he and I retired to the Bay Area, was his persistent encouragement and his promise that this book would be published in my lifetime.