Jolene Dollison Babyak lived on Alcatraz Island with about 60 other families for approximately two years in 1954 and ’55 when she was ages seven to nine and for another year in 1962 when she was 15.

Her father, Art Dollison, worked there as an administrator for nine years, becoming the associate warden in late 1961, which required the family to move from the city back to Alcatraz.

She resided on the island during one of the most spectacular escape attempts in U.S. history—the 1962 Dummy Mask escape attempt later featured in the Clint Eastwood movie, Escape from Alcatraz.

In the late 1970s Jolene began interviewing former officers and prisoners in preparation for her first book, Eyewitness on Alcatraz (1988). Subsequently, she published Bird Man, The Many Faces of Robert Stroud in 1994, Breaking the Rock, The Great Escape from Alcatraz in 2001, Alcatraz Most Wanted, Profiles of the Most Famous Prisoners on The Rock in 2008, and Mi Quinceañera en Alcatraz in 2018. An English version of Quinceañera, about family life on the island, will be published in 2019. Another book is planned to be published in 2019-20.

Having collected anecdotes and evidence from interviews, prison documents and FBI files for more than 40 years, Jolene is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the island-prison’s history as well as a provocative and engaging speaker.