The federal prison on Alcatraz Island was once home to the most incorrigible criminals, because even if they managed to get past the walls, the cold, swift currents of the San Francisco Bay seemingly made the place escape-proof [source: Federal Bureau of Prisons]. But that didn't stop convicts from trying.
In 1962, Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers — John and Clarence — used spoons to dig holes in the walls of their prison cells, leaving behind papier-mache heads propped on their pillows to fool the guards into thinking they were still asleep [source: Sullivan]. Then they climbed up a utility vent and down a drainpipe and headed for the water, where they paddled away, using a boat and life vests that they had improvised from raincoats they glued together [sources: Sullivan, BOP].
The prisoners were never caught, though a few pieces of their gear and possessions were found floating in the bay, and a body — too deteriorated to be identifiable -- was found a short distance up the coast several weeks later [source: BOP].These findings led prison authorities to classify the escapees as presumed drowned. However, it's worth noting that 50 years later, the U.S. Marshals Service still had the three men on their list of wanted fugitives [source: Sullivan]. And, the Anglins' family thinks the brothers are still alive [source: Nolte].