Where the voices of Alcatraz come to life...

James "Whitey" Bulger

In the Warner Brothers motion picture Black Mass, actor Johnny Depp portrays the notorious James “Whitey” Bulger, godfather of the Irish-American mob, is often depicted as America's most notorious gangster during the 20th Century. Black Mass, explores the dark underworld of South Boston's crime syndicate, and is the chilling account of how Bulger was able manipulate the FBI for a period of decades.


Prior to his years as the central figure of the Irish-American Mafia, Bulger served on Alcatraz from November 1959 until July 1962 for a string of bank robberies. During his years on the Rock, he would serve time alongside many of America’s most noted public enemies, including men like Alvin Karpis, Mickey Cohen, Frankie Carbo and Harlem boss Bumpy Johnson. After serving nine years in federal prison, he returned to Boston where he rose to the highest and most influential echelon of crime figures, ultimately reaching number one on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. After sixteen years at large, Bulger was arrested in an ocean side neighborhood in Santa Monica, California, on June 22, 2011.

Interviews With Bulger After His Capture

Following Bulger's capture, Michael Esslinger, an author and historian who has conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with former Alcatraz Convicts and Guards, spent more than 36 months conducting interviews with Whitey Bulger, discussing his life inside Alcatraz and life while on the run from the FBI.

Esslinger has written two books that include interview material with Bulger. The first, Letters from Alcatraz, includes a full chapter discussing his memories of Alcatraz and is available from reputable booksellers, and Whitey Bulger: The Alcatraz Interviews, a complete work due out in the fall, chronicles Bulger's years on Alcatraz, in Bulger's own words, and transcribed directly from Esslinger's interviews with Bulger.


Jimmy Bulger at 14-years of age.


James "Whitey" Bulger 1428-AZ


Bulger's crime partner Richard Barchard, 1251-AZ


U.S.P. Atlanta where Bulger served from 1956 to 1959.