Alcatraz was a deeply moving and fascinating place, almost in spite of its reputation. Before arriving I feared visitors would have a theme-parked pastiche of an experience. This wasn't so.

Even amongst the large, but near silent crowds, I still felt the emotional legacy of a place that could be seen as the epitome of claustrophobic, lonely and literally isolating.

In many ways, Alcatraz's power put me in mind of Bentham's Panopticon: despite its obvious physical barriers, the truly isolating and imprisoning experience was that which must have been fostered and nurtured inside the inmates' minds.

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