The tedium of Alcatraz--the sameness of the people, work and living space--was
broken only by the variety of the menu. The food was practically considered part
of the security program at Alcatraz.
The quality was reputed to be the best in the prison system--officials claimed they
spent more money for food per inmate than other prisons did, and there was
plenty to eat for everybody. The Alcatraz guards ate the same food in their dining
It was reported that, while Federal regulations stipulated a minimum allocation of
2,100 calories per day, per federal prison inmate, at Alcatraz the inmates generally
received more than 3,000 calories per day, per inmate. The inmates on Alcatraz
Island had fresh bread and pastry, butter on the tables and pie and ice cream for
Wartime food rationing and occasional budgetary challenges led to a few bumps
in the culinary road, but overall, especially given conditions across America during
the Depression and war years, dining at Alcatraz was a pretty good deal. Good food
meant inmates who were relaxed and content.
In the mess hall, inmates could have as much food as they wanted, but if they left
food on their trays, they could miss their next meal. If it happened again,
punishment could be more severe.
Shadow box for knives.