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Alcatraz Speaker Series with Former Inmate Bill Baker

February 28, 2018
5:30 pm
Parc 55 Hotel

What: Join Bill Baker, former Alcatraz inmate, as he describes his life on "The Rock" and his life in and out of prison. Who: William Baker was an inmate at Alcatraz Prison. Now that he’s back to the straight and narrow, he visits Alcatraz Island to talk with visitors, answering questions about his prison years, signing autographs, taking pictures and interacting with visitors to the island. In his words, “I can’t help it if history made me a rock star.” Baker has written a book entitled Alcatraz 1259, which he signs and promotes on the Island three or four days a week. While he answers a lot of questions, the one most often asked is, “Isn’t it strange coming back to the prison where you served time?” His short answer is, “Yes, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.” And, with a grin he adds, “So I’m very happy.” And they nod and laugh and go on the next question. The long answer is more complicated and requires a lot of explanation about the nature and character of an Alcatraz convict. He comments, “You see, most of us came here from other prisons, transferred to Alcatraz for breaking rules…serious rules.” Baker came to Alcatraz because he was escaping from other prisons. That’s the most serious rule of all in the penitentiary system…more serious than murder. Baker reflects, “So, we were a bunch of hard-headed convicts before we got to Alcatraz. We had already been in the hole many times, broke a lot of rules. We were used to this kind of life before we got here. So, we could handle this place.” Baker continues, “I’m not saying Alcatraz was a good place. I’m just saying we were some bad boys. We could handle it and we did. We walked the yard laughing and playing, talking about robbing banks when we got out; we bet on ball games; played cards; played ball; and made a little home brew once in a while and got drunk.” It wasn’t much of a life. Prisoners were locked up in a six by nine cell most of the time and they were properly punished. But, they dealt with it and survived. Where: Cable 55 Restaurant at Parc 55 Hotel

Parc 55 Hotel

55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
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