A blanket on the floor was the only bed prisoners in The Hole enjoyed. At dawn, a guard would come by and take it. For the rest of the day, the prisoner was forced to stand (the floor was often too cold) and wait for his meals.

Federal regulations specified that a prisoner could not spend more than 19 days at a stretch in the Hole, but there was nothing to prevent the staff from letting a prisoner out for one day and then sending him back for some infraction of the rules.

This modern facility succeeded the infamous Alcatraz dungeons, part of the original U.S. military citadel, still extant beneath the 1911 Cell House.