This was the day in #lalife and #history when a terrifying punishment was taken off the table...
Alcatraz Island was a Federal Penitentiary. Neither a jail nor a state prison, Alcatraz was for another class of criminal. Incarcerated there were the men who had defied the laws of the nation, typically in multiple state jurisdictions. Italian American rum runner Al Capone had done so when he failed to pay his income taxes. Jewish American racketeer Mickey Cohen was Los Angeles’ contribution to the community. The mob boss had established his reputation initially in L.A.’s Jewish enclave of Boyle Heights, where he’d been a newsie and a boxer. Later a cutthroat business man and ruthless killer, Cohen later met Billy Graham and converted to Christianity. The experience did not keep him out of prison. Alcatraz closed on this day in 1963, sending Cohen to Atlanta where a man attempted his assassination with a lead pipe. The event prompted Cohen to spend the rest of his days speaking out publicly against prisoner abuse.
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