Alcatraz, which performed almost thirty years of service as a maximum security federal penitentiary, is now the focus of a new fund-raising campaign initiated by the National Park Service. As part of well-orchestrated "Save the Rock" campaign, the National Park Service has begun selling pieces of the decrepit cell house and guards' quarters. If the Park Service had not devised this rather interesting fund-raising initiative, the chips of concrete would have been ferried off the island and deposited in a landfill. All told, the effort to renovate these parts of the historic structures is going to cost approximately $7.7 million dollars, and it is hoped that this fund-raising technique will bring in around $20,000 to $40,000 a year. "The Rock" itself was built from 1909 to 1911 by military prisoners, and served as a federal penitentiary from 1933 to 1963, when it was closed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.The first link leads to a news article from this Monday's San Francisco Chronicle about the recent move by the National Park Service to begin selling pieces of "The Rock" to the general public. The second link takes visitors to the National Park Service's official page featuring information about Alcatraz Island. The third site, developed by Michael Esslinger, features information about Alcatraz (including prison rosters and a long historical essay about the penitentiary and some of its more famous inmates), and a diagram of the infamous cellhouse. While many of today's maximum security prisons are hermetic affairs, sealed to the outside world, there are still several minimum security prisons that are known to be a bit more relaxed. This fourth link from Forbes.com profiles five of these minimum security facilities, such as Eglin in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, sometimes referred to as "Club Fed." Of course the situation in many prisons across the world is quite dire for inmates, and the fifth link from the Human Rights Watch organization documents these conditions on its site, which contains a number of well-researched reports. The sixth link leads to the home page of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which may be of interest to thoselooking for statistics and general information about the entire United States prison system. The final link will take visitors to the "Save the Rock" home page where they can read about the campaign and browse through the available merchandise.


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