The 1971 Attica Rebellion
The conditions that led to the uprising mirrored the state of many prisons across the U.S. at the time: Attica was marked by overcrowding, poor medical care, widespread violence, pervasive racism, few educational opportunities, and an excessive use of threats and force on the part of the prison guards.
On September 9, 1971, Incarcerated people in Attica took control of the facility, holding about 40 people hostage and issuing a series of demands to prison administrators. Their demands focused on their basic civil and human rights—such as medical care, religious and political freedom, a living wage, and opportunities for education and rehabilitation.
After four days of negotiations, Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered that the prison be retaken. In a 15-minute siege on the Attica prison yard, twenty-nine incarcerated individuals and ten security and civilian staff were killed as a result of shots fired by State Police. After the troopers and guards retook control of the prison, several incarcerated individuals were brutally tortured and humiliated. The harm done to the survivors of the assault and the families of the victims has been deep and long-lasting.
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The CA has been monitoring the high rates of suicide and self-harm in the state prisons for more than a decade and has repeatedly drawn attention to excessively high rates of harm at certain prisons and in specific locations, such as solitary confinement and residential mental health units, to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the legislature in the CA’s reports and legislative testimonies. DOCCS suicide rate from 2010-16 was 56% higher than the national average for all US prisons.Read More
If New York state were punishing misbehaving prisoners by pulling out their fingernails, I believe our local senators and assemblymen would put a stop to this. Yet the legislature continues to allow the extended use of solitary confinement in prisons. Make no mistake, this is torture. Don’t take my word for it. Go spend 15 [...]Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More