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Both Sides of the Bars | 50 Years Since The Attica Prison Uprising, Has Anything Changed?

ProducerKhalil Cumberbatch
DescriptionFifty years ago, in 1971, the uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York – considered the deadliest in U.S. history – took the lives of 43 people … 10 correctional officers and civilian employees as well as 33 incarcerated people. It lasted for five days. The uprising grew out of long-held grievances over the abhorrent conditions inside the prison. The facilities were overcrowded, and individuals were forced to spend 14-16 hours a day in their cells. Incoming mail was read by officers, visits with loved ones were held through mesh screens, medical care was inadequate, and racism was everywhere. So what has changed in 50 years? As we honor those lost, the fight to end racial violence that took their lives continues as does the efforts to end the inhumane treatment that sparked the uprising in the first place. Today’s interview is with David Rothenberg, the founder of The Fortune Society and one of the 30 observers summoned by the leaders of the Attica uprising to witness their negotiations with New York State. Though Fortune was in its infancy – founded only four years prior – the organization had become popular among incarcerated individuals at Attica for its monthly newsletter.
DateDecember 13, 2022