This article is for educational purposes.

Alcatraz - How The Inmates Were Counted





How The Prisoners Were Counted




In the mornings, each prisoner swept his cell clean, dressed and stood ready for a head count.


  1. The deputy warden is in command and gives the signals. He takes a position at the east end of the cell house, between blocks B and C.

  2. The lieutenant of the watch takes a position at the west end of the cell house, between blocks B and C; there he receives reports of count from guards.

  3. The guards take their assigned positions, ready to take the count when the signal is given. On signal, the count is started on the south side of block B and the north side of block C.

  4. As each guard completes his count, he goes to the west end of the cell block and reports to the lieutenant. The count must be accurate and the report must be made as soon as it is ready.

  5. After his report of count, each guard returns quickly to his position. Upon the whistle signal, guards open the cells in the same order of movement as when taking count. Example: Guard in position 1, block B, lower east end, opens the cells controlled by Box 10, then proceeds quickly to opening the cells controlled by Box 7.

  6. After the prisoners have stepped out of their cells, the deputy warden and the lieutenant give hand signals for locking the cells. The second whistle is the signal to start prisoners moving in an orderly manner to the dining hall or yard.



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