E.B. Tiller opening a Solitary cell for Kit Nelson.
First "Pilot"
Last Garrett stillman
Location Alcatraz Prison
Purpose Punishment for inmates with bad behaviour
Status decommissioned on 20 March, 1963 along with Alcatraz.

The best Alcatraz has to offer. Two impermeable layers of steel encasement, guaranteed not to bother you with light or sound.

E.B. Tiller, "Kit Nelson"

Solitary confinement, (known colloquially in Alcatraz as "The Hole,") was a punishment given to an inmate serving a prison sentence. In Alcatraz, the punishment was widely used, by Warden James and E.B. Tiller, as a corrupt way of torturing prisoners they especially disliked.


Jack SylvaneEdit

Jack Sylvane
1x01 SylvaneInSolitary

Sylvane in Solitary.

was framed by E.B. Tiller in 1960. Tiller planted a screwdriver in Sylvane's cell during search, and accused him of attempting to escape. Sylvane was taken to Solitary, and incarcerated in a pitch black cell, and was again teased by Tiller who joked about his release.

Later, after Sonya Sylvane asked for a divorce during visiting day, Sylvane became immensely angry, which resulted in him being placed back into Solitary.

Ernest CobbEdit

Ernest Cobb was one of the very few inmates who was confined in Solitary willingly. According to Diego Soto,
Private cell2

Ernest Cobb enjoying the private facilities of a Solitary cell.

Cobb spent more time in Solitary than any other inmate. Cobb greatly disliked socialisation and talk, and even shot a guard in McNiel correctional facility with a hand-made gun to get transferred, to a prison with private cells.

Cobb heard about Solitary from a fellow talkative prisoner nicknamed Yapper, after seeing Sylvane being carried off after being infuriated by his wife. Cobb then attempted a transfer to a solitary cell, from Edwin James, who denied his request. Cobb was finally granted his wish by a warden during count. He was taken to solitary by Tiller after not standing up and facing outwards. After hearing this, Warden James decided to torment Cobb further by placing Yapper into his solitary cell. This lead to Cobb's mental deterioration and hospitalisation, which resulted in the employment of Lucille Sengupta.

Kit NelsonEdit


Warden James interrogating Nelson in the Solitary cell.

Nelson was granted Solitary confinement by Warden James after being viciously beaten by fellow inmates in the recreation yard, secretly on the orders of Edwin James. Similar to Cobb, Nelson's solitary confinement only consisted of an average cell, though it was situated away from the main cell block, to stop him from being beaten by inmates again.

Later, Nelson was dragged by E.B. Tiller to a pitch black cell, in which he was confronted by Warden James, who told Nelson their conversation would last four matches. James theorized on how Nelson killed his brother, Elliot, when the latter was 11. Threatened to serve the rest of his life in the pitch black cell, Nelson confessed about how he killed his brother. James, however, did not release him, but gave him the rest of his matches. It is unknown whether Nelson served the last 3 years of his Alcatraz incarceration inside the cell.

Cal SweeneyEdit

Cal Sweeney was placed in Solitary confinement by E.B. Tiller, after the two got into a fight at the latters birthday

Sweeney's "Solitary" cell.

party. He was threatened with 30 days, or 60 if Sweeney spoke about what had happened during the fight, or about Tiller's knowledge of Sweeney's laundry business. Although he was sentenced to Solitary, he was placed behind a heavy door, which lead to an unknown location or room. It is therefore arguable whether Sweeney did indeed serve 30 days in "The Hole."


In Alcatraz, Solitary confinement came in two degrees of punishment. The harshest degree of punishment was

Nelson protesting after being placed in "The Hole."

the incarceration of an inmate in a pitch black, small cell, which resulted in a lack of space for movement. This was nicknamed "The Hole." Nelson and Sylvane were imprisoned here, somewhat due to corruption. A much less harsh confinement was offered for the inmates safety (such as Nelson,) and for acute crimes in the case of Ernest Cobb. This consisted of a standard cell in the solitary block, away from all the other prisoners. In both cases, the inmate was given meals in his cell, and they were not allowed to visit the recreation yard, (apart from Nelson, who was allowed 10 minutes private time in the yard, to be safe from the other inmates).
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