Throwback: Illinois’ 2nd Most Famous Resident Sent to Federal Prison 85 Years Ago
How's that for a teaser? Who is Illinois' 2nd most famous resident? And, for that matter, who is the 1st most famous? And really, being Illinois, "went to prison" could mean a lot of different famous people.
As you've guessed by now, the guy pictured above is Al Capone. And, I call him the 2nd most famous Illinoisan because I figure that Abraham Lincoln has the top spot fairly well sewed up. We can argue about the number two spot later, if you like.
Anyway, if was on this date, May 4th, 1932, that Al Capone, having been convicted of income tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. He was supposed to serve his 11 year sentence there, but ended up only doing about 2 years because of some troubles...
Capone began serving his time at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, but amid accusations that he was manipulating the system and receiving cushy treatment, he was transferred to the maximum-security lockup at Alcatraz Island, in California’s San Francisco Bay.
So, as hard as it may be to believe, Capone was not a rule-follower in Atlanta.
From Atlanta Magazine:
The gangster soon exerted influence here, smuggling in cash and getting special treatment that included a rug to decorate his cell, cigars, and use of a typewriter. Capone — who worked in the prison’s overall shop — reportedly got in trouble for installing springs in his cell bunk. “Drear routine” indeed. Capone ended up spending just two years in Atlanta, transferred to Alcatraz in August 1934.
Here's some pretty cool newsreel footage of Capone's freedom coming to an end: