Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001
From: Institute for Public Accuracy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Attica, 30 Years Later
Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * email@example.com
Wednesday, September 5, 2001
Attica, 30 Years Later: Interviews Available
Next week marks the 30th anniversary of the uprising at Attica prison in
upstate New York. In 1971, on Sept. 13 -- four days into a rebellion by
1,281 prisoners demanding humane treatment -- more than 500 state troopers
assaulted the prison compound, under orders from Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.
The troopers' gunfire killed 29 inmates as well as 10 guards being held
Interviews are now available with:
FRANK "BIG BLACK" SMITH, firstname.lastname@example.org
An Attica prisoner 30 years ago, Smith was prominent in the rebellion.
Immediately after it ended, Smith was among the prisoners who underwent
torture. After his release from prison, Smith became a paralegal and
litigant in the lawsuit that resulted in a $12 million settlement with
prisoners after a 26-year legal battle. Smith said today: "The problem
isn't just with Attica or with prisons. It's with the foundation these
prisons are built on: selective prosecution, selective arrest, class,
racism -- all that. We all have a responsibility to fix the problem. Crime
bills and sentencing guidelines are part of the problem, but we all bear
responsibility for finding solutions. We all have to wake up; what you
don't know can hurt you."
ELIZABETH FINK, email@example.com
Lead counsel for former Attica prisoners in their civil rights case, Fink
said today: "Conditions in prisons today are worse than they were at the
time of Attica. At that time, there were 11 prisons in New York State;
today there are 90. There were 11,000 prisoners in the state at that time;
today there are 90,000. Currently, 6.47 million Americans are under some
form of judicial restraint.... The vast majority of prisoners do not belong
in prison. They belong in some form of rehabilitation, most in drug
rehabilitation.... The Attica brothers rebelled because of inhumane
treatment; the potential for another Attica looms large today."
TOM TERRIZZI, firstname.lastname@example.org
Terrizzi is executive director of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, a
private not-for-profit organization providing services to New York State
inmates. He said today: "One of the positive legacies of the Attica
rebellion was the establishment of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York,
which was designed to give inmates a voice and access to the courts to
address their grievances.... Currently at Attica, major reform has just
begun in the way mental health services are provided to the seriously
mentally ill, who often end up in the prison's solitary confinement unit.
This court-ordered reform came after a 15-year court battle led by PLSNY.
At the moment, however, the state is likely to terminate a contract with
PLSNY to provide needed services to inmates, once again leaving the state's
70,000 prisoners with no meaningful access to the courts."
DAVID VAN TAYLOR and BRAD LICHTENSTEIN, www.courttv.com/press/attica.html
Van Taylor is executive producer and Lichtenstein is producer/director of
"The Ghosts of Attica," a documentary premiering Sept. 9 on Court TV. Van
Taylor said today: "We had an incredible opportunity to tell some truth
about a story that continues to unfold. Archival evidence that had never
been available before became available after the settlement, 30 years after
the uprising. There was graphic evidence of the assaults and torture
committed by the state against the inmates; the footage also demonstrated
the depravity of state officials who went to great lengths to cover up the
brutality against prisoners and their own guards."
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Cynthia Skow, (415) 552-5378; Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
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