Monday, April 2, 2012

The 1971 Attica Prison Rebellion

This story is about the circumstances under which many young Black men find themselves, imprisoned. Whether they are there rightly or wrongly, it still remains for us to find a way to resolve the situation. When I say find a way, I don't mean to oversimplify. I realize that there are many different routes by which a Black man can end up in prison. Our goal needs to be to block these routes by the most effective means possible. Things are already way too far out of hand and it's going to take inordinate amount of effort to turn this thing around. This event took place over 40 years ago, see if you can detect any similarities or differences.

 Attica Prison 1971

"Most of the Attica prisoners were there as a result of plea bargaining. Of 32,000 felony indictments a year in New York State, 4,000 to 5,000 were tried. The rest (about 75%) were disposed of by deals made under duress, called “plea bargaining,” described as follows in the Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Crime in New York:

The final climactic act in the plea bargaining procedure is a charade which in itself has aspects of dishonesty which rival the original crime in many instances. The accused is made to assert publicly his guilt on a specific crime, which in many cases he has not committed; in some cases he pleads guilty to a non-existing crime. He must further indicate that he is entering his plea freely… and that he is not doing so because of any promises made to him.

In plea bargaining, the accused pleads guilty, whether he is or not, and saves the state the trouble of a trial in return for the promise of a less severe punishment."

     "There were several hundred thousand in prison in 1971 - now there are two million."
                                                        (Click to Read Full Story)  on

 (This is a 30 minute audio file about the Attica Rebellion on found Freedom Archives)

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