Al Capone goes to prison


On October 17, 1931, Al Capone finally got sent to prison. A Federal Court in Chicago had accepted his guilty plea on the tax evasion charges, made famous in the movie “The Untouchables” in addition to 5,000 violations of The Volstead Act. Capone had been sentenced to 11 years and fined $80,000.

He started his sentence in the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, where he was diagnosed with syphilis, the disease that would eventually kill him. It was soon discovered that he was manipulating the system in the Atlanta prison. Organized crime associates were insuring that Capone was having an easy time in prison. He was quickly sent to the prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay where things were not quite as hospitable.

Capone was described as a model prisoner in Alcatraz. He played banjo in the prison band, and even tried his hand at songwriting. He was also stabbed by fellow inmate James Lucas. His reputation for toughness that had made him a menace on the street eluded him in prison. One of his cellmates was concerned that he would have a breakdown. He spent his last years in the prison hospital suffering from syphilis among other ailments. He was paroled in 1939 and lived out his final years at his mansion on Pine Island, Florida before he died of heart failure in 1947.


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