Attica State Prison Report

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The Commission Report on Attica said that “Attica State Prison in New York was to be the solution to the recent problem of prison uprisings and the response to the commission that investigated them.”(Slade) It is ironic that the prison that had the largest riot in U.S. history was actually forty years prior made to solve the riot and disturbance issue within the New York Prison system. In the summer of 1971, the state prison in Attica, New York, was ready to explode with 2,243 inmates, well over their maximum capacity of 2,000. 1,232 of the inmates were black, 845 white, 154 Puerto Ricans, and 12 inmates of mixed or other descent (Slade). There were a significant number of minorities being incarcerated in a prison in a rural town with all white…show more content…
Some Attica prisoners began to identify themselves as political prisoners rather than convicted criminals. These events were the perfect concoction to create a four-day mass riot. The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center’s “Attica NOW!” collection contains interviews of Attica inmates who recount daily mistreatment from guards and rules that were abused by guards to punish inmates. These interviews also talk about the lack of educational opportunities and the fact that they were forced to perform slave labor (Slade). During the 1960’s and 1970’s President Nixon declared a war on drugs causing the demographic of criminals to shift as Attica was now a dumping ground for African Americans and Hispanics facing drug charges, causing Attica to become overcrowded, and increased the already poisonous racial atmosphere in the prison. During this time, the FBI and other agencies were cracking down on the Black Panther Party and other groups. These agencies were sending powerful leaders to prison and making them martyrs for their…show more content…
However, autopsies showed that these charges were false and that police had shot all 10 hostages to death during the hailstorm of gunfire. This attempted cover-up increased the public attack of the raid and prompted a Congressional investigation, but state officials ordered for the D yard to be cleaned up (bulldozed) before they could get cleared to investigate. The Attica riot was the worst prison riot in U.S. history. A total of 43 people were killed, including the 39 killed in the raid as well as 4 others killed by prisoners early in the riot. In the week after the riot, police engaged in brutal punishments against the prisoners, forcing them to run a gantlet of nightsticks and crawl naked across broken glass, among other tortures. The many injured inmates received substandard medical treatment. This riot started as an issue of the first amendments religious freedom and freedom of speech, and a slight 8th amendment issue of cruel and unusual punishment when it comes to their living conditions. It ended up being a severe issue of the 8th amendment after the fact, with the inmates being tortured by correctional
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