Record Caper

Long-missing Alcatraz files make their way back to the Bay Area

After several years of back and forth, Ward returned several more boxes of records last year. And again, the researchers cried foul. Finally, the Bureau of Prisons and NARA sent a letter to the University of Minnesota demanding that all remaining records on Alcatraz be returned to the government. Earlier this year, the professor responded with yet another box of files.

Ward refused to discuss the Alcatraz files with SF Weekly other than to say that he has now turned over all of the files in his possession to the Bureau of Prisons. "Everything has gone back," he said. "I have nothing else."

In the past, Ward has publicly blasted his fellow Alcatraz researchers, saying that were it not for his efforts in gathering and preserving the files they would not exist because the government would have let them languish. In an Associated Press report last year, Ward called his critics "a bunch of bozos," a moniker quickly adopted by the Bay Area researchers, who are considering printing up some "Bozo" T-shirts to memorialize Ward's arrogance.

Many of the files on former Alcatraz inmates were given to a criminology professor, and only now will be made available to the public.
Amy Douglas
Many of the files on former Alcatraz inmates were given to a criminology professor, and only now will be made available to the public.

Ward's upcoming book, Alcatraz: The Effects of Long-Term Confinement in Super Maximum Custody, is due out in about 18 months, according to University of California Press, its publisher.

Meanwhile, archivists at the Bureau of Prisons and the National Archives and Records Administration are attempting to inventory their new files, which include those on Capone and the originals on Stroud. The newly arrived records also contain information on less famous inmates, as well as some of the prison log books. The files will be available to the public as soon as archivists sort and treat them for preservation.


Additional Links:

National Archives & Records Administration in San Bruno:
http://www.nara.gov/regional/sanfranc.html

Nationa Parks Service Alcatraz site:
http://www.nps.gov/alcatraz/

Joel Gasiz-Sax Alcatraz site:
http://www.alsirat.com/alcatraz/ns2/index.html

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