Excerpted from
Federal Offenders: 1935-36


Following the organization of this institution, transfers of prisoners were made from other penitentiaries which had brought our population to 242 on July 1, 1935. During the year 65 prisoners were received by transfer from other institutions, 33 were transferred our, and there were 13 releases, leaving a population of 261 at the close of the fiscal year.


There were no important changes in administrative personnel but during the year we inaugurated the plan of using substitute officers, in order to have a number of experienced and trained men ready for appointments as vacancies occur in regular positions in the custodial force. All men previously rated as Guards were given the status of Junior Custodial Officers, including nine who had previously been rated as General Mechanics.


The population of this institution is made up of prisoners transferred from other penitentiaries. We have the benefit of the studies made by the Classification Committees in the other institutions. The reports and recommendations are considered in connection with inmate's needs and assignments.


Educational Work.--By arrangement with the University of California Extension Division, a selected list of correspondence courses has been made available, and 81 inmates enrolled for courses during the year. A few have completed the courses. Some were dropped for various reasons, but most of them are active and are making fair progress.

Vocational Training.--Vocational training is not carried on in classes but a number of inmates are receiving practical trade [56] training from experienced foremen who supervise their work in the Maintenance Shops and Industries.

Religious Services.--The Resident Chaplain is responsible for the arrangement and schedule of relgiious services, the conduct of educational and welfare work and supervision of the Library. Unfortunately we were deprived of the services of the Resident Chaplain during a long period of illness, followed by resignation due to his inability to resume his work in this field. This has affected our educational work but the religious services have been conducted by Visiting Chaplains, a Catholic Priest and a Protestant Minister holding services on alternate Sundays.

Recreation.--Our recreational facilities are limited. Prisoners who have their privileges are allowed the use of the yard Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. The principal recreations are baseball, handball and pitching horseshoes. During the year we cemented the handball courts and built concrete seats that afford space and opportunity for those who prefer to play chess, checkers, and dominoes.


Our medical staff appointed by the United States Public Health Service includes a Chief Physician, Assistant Physician, Administrative Assistant, four Guard Attendants, Visiting Dentist and Consulting Psychiatrist. The general health of the prisoners has been good. There were two deaths from natural causes during the year.


Our principal industries are the Laundry, Mat Factory, Clothing Factory and Model Shop. These Industries afford occupation for the inmates and in some cases trade training.

Laundry.--The laundry renders service for the United States Transports and the United States Army posts in the San Francisco Bay area.

Mat Factory.--The Mat Factory is a comparitively new industry but is very active and successful. We make mats for the Navy Department, orders coming from the warships located in the Pacific.

Clothing Factory.--The Clothing Factory is a new Industry, the machinery for which was installed the latter part of 1935 [57] and early 1936. Inmates are being trained in the making of uniform clothing for this and other institutions within the Bureau of Prisons.

Model Shop.--The Model Shop engages in the reconditioning of furniture which has been discarded by one agency of the Government and can be made ready for use in another department.


Refrigeration.--A new three-ton refrigerating unit was installed during the year, the brine lines to ice boxes were revamped and new brine pump installed. The old refrigerating unit is being reconditioned so as to serve as a stand-by or auxiliary plant.

Dock.--New piling was placed in position and emergency repairs made to the Dock.

Painting.--Prison buildings, employees quarters, and all other buildings located outside of the work area were painted, inside and out.

Seawall Protection.--During the year 800 tons of riprap were put in position in front of the seawall along the shoreline on the west side of the Island and 100 tons of riprap were placed in position along the shoreline in front of the seawall near the Main Dock on the south east side of the Island.

Tower and Walkways.--A new steel Guard Tower was erected on the roof of Industrial Building No. 82, also a steel walkway from Building No. 82 to the Hill Tower. The guard located in the tower on the roof of Building No. 82 is enabled to control the industrial area and have good vision in the rear of Building No. 82 and the Laundry. The steel walkway affords additional space for the use of the guards who occupy this tower and the Hill Tower.

Quarters for Employees.--Eleven new apartments for families and nine single rooms for bachelors in Building No. 28. This work has given us ample quarters for our single men and we are able to accomodate most of our custodial force on the Island, though we still have applications for quarters from officers whose families at present are obliged to live on the mainland.[58]


Generally speaking the conduct of the prisoners has been good, most of them conforming to regulation and applying themselves to their tasks. The only exception was the strike among the inmates that occurred in January, 1936, which fortunately was controlled without any violence.

One prisoner lost his life in attempting to escape on April 27, 1936. This was the only attempted escape since the establishment of this institution.

[FEDERAL OFFENDERS 1935-36:pp. 55-58]