The Attica Riot.
On 9 September 1971 inmates began a riot and takeover at the Attica State Correctional Facility in New York. The takeover ended four days later when law enforcement officers stormed the prison. Forty-three people were killed: ten prison guards who were being held as hostages and thirty-three inmates. The Attica riot captured the attention of the nation, directing interest to prison conditions and the rights of prisoners.
The riot at Attica came after a summer of tension and unrest at the prison. The prison was over-crowded, housing 2,250 men in a facility considered safe for 1,600. Racial tensions were also high. The prison had no black guards and only one Puerto Rican guard, yet the inmates were 54 percent black and 9 percent Puerto Rican. Tensions at the prison grew after inmate George Jackson was shot to death at San Quentin prison in California. Inmates assumed that he had been...
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