Edited to fit the platform.

By: Patrick Jackson

I was in the City Workhouse in 1974 or so, when people decided to break out of a small dorm. The thought temporarily came to my mind, to go with them but it was as though God helped me process my real reason for wanting to leave.

 I wanted to be with my wife and have sex. I saw no logic in making such an escape as a matter of fact, I personally thought it was stupid. I was facing a lot of time, nor was I dealing with any other issues, aside from wanting to see my daughter Dana, but soon I would be caught and that’s more time. 

Not a logical move for me, so I just stayed in my bed as those, soon to be captured, made their way to escape. See, everyone knew on a certain tower, the correctional officer, (guards back then was the references) was drunk in the tower. The workhouse was so wide open, though protected by abusive guards, who in some cases were tricks for the women confined also, in the City Workhouse of St. Louis, MO. 

Yet, just like any human being, we can be caught napping and so 4 persons escape that night. Now, here is one of the dummy questions, unlearned and untrained guards asked” What did you see”? 

Needless to say, all were soon apprehended but now they went to the City Jail, where security was tighter and no fences. just steel doors and more steel doors. Persons had escaped from the City Workhouse before by changing names. 

I know, because I ran the hall visiting passes and saw it! But daring escape nah, I hadn’t seen or heard of one, but Hollywood did treat us to a true story, of which the Bureau of Criminal Justice has yet to find three of the four escapees. 

When you saw the movie, Escape from Alcatraz, starring Clint Eastwood, I, like most people, thought how daring and dangerous such a move was. How brave these men were to make their dream come true. 

 I saw the place where Frank Morris and Allen West were. I saw the rooms and the supposedly space where the men crawl through except West. He was struck and eventually told on everyone, according to sources.1 I walked the yard, sat on the bleachers, went through the mess hall but Clint Eastwood didn’t!2 The escape took place in 1962 and seventeen years later the movie Escape from Alcatraz came out. 

The person named Allen West was caught supposedly on the roof, as the grill to his cell wasn’t opening as it needed to be. West told the FBI he was the main planner, but many knew better. I want to leave you with this truth. 

If you are honest with yourself, you only heard about this escape from Alcatraz, right? Well, there were 15 men who sought to escape including two after the early that year’s successful escape. 

Darl Dee Parker and John Paul Scott both did escape but only for a few minutes.  Here is another truth! Ted Cole and Ralph Roe were the first to successfully escape off the island. 

Despite the warden’s cruel and harsh punishments at times, Alcatraz wasn’t effective for the intended purpose any longer. The prison cost too much per day, $10.10 compared to $3 at the USP in Atlanta. 

After much conversation and protesting of poor condition and the rehabilitation concept began to pick up speed it was announced Alcatraz would close for good. On Thursday March 21,1963 the era ended, and the doors officially closed. 

Just like in St. Louis, MO, the City Workhouse officially closed as well, after many escapes, the first black female mayor of the City of St. Louis, MO not the first black female mayor of Missouri or St. Louis, just the City Tishaura Jones closed the City Workhouse. 

Now keep in mind the efforts to close Alcatraz as well as the Workhouse, were the results of long hours and hard-fought battles over years. 

I believe people should be confined but treated as human beings and not dogs. There are no codes on those commitment papers that bind you to be responsible for anyone’s behaviors but your own, yet when others decide to break the rules, all must suffer the judgment. 

It’s not fair and we shall talk further about this next week. If only one person was educated about the true story of Alcatraz, this article was not in vain. Thank you for reading my article and until next week, be the best you, you can be for the Glory of God!

Featured image: Patrick Jackson

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