Uprising at Attica

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Islam Pages: 2 (787 words) Published: November 23, 2013
Who knew that an uprising that occurred in the fall of 1971 at a New York correctional facility would help change the American penal system forever? It was the culmination of a storm that had been brewing for months.  There was a tension between the guards and inmates that had not gone unnoticed. With little to no attention given to the circumstances of the inmates, they had had enough. Earlier that year during the summer months, inmates had come together and participated in peaceful protests. These protests were an attempt to get corrections officials to improve the horrid living conditions at Attica. The sudden unity of the multicultural inmates struck fear in the prison officials. However, no agreements were made and overcrowding was still an issue. The day before the uprising occurred, prison guards had attempted to diffuse what they perceived to be sparring between a black and a white inmate.  The two inmates were said to have been rough-housing during a warm up for a football game out on the yard. A confrontation kept the guards from taking any further action at that time. Other inmates began to make uproar. That night, the two inmates from the incident on the yard were taken from their cells. This did not sit well with the other inmates. On the morning of September 9, 1971, inmates at Attica Correctional Facility were still outraged. Out of nowhere, the unexpected happened and a “melee broke out” (Abadinsky p.129) Unbeknownst to prison officials, the takeover that had just occurred was totally unplanned.  Officers were taken hostage and a riot ensued. Once again, despite their cultural differences, the inmates quickly banded together to create a list of demands. There were several different issues of importance to the inmates. A major discrepancy was the diet of the Black Muslims. The meals served at the prison were heavy in pork and could not be consumed by the Muslims due to their religion. Another issue was that the Muslim religion was not...
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