Attica Correctional Facility

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Attica Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison housing males convicted of felonies who are 21 years of age or older committed directly by the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eight judicial districts of New York . It also receives felons 16 years of age and older by transfer from the Elmira Reception Center or other institutions.

A 1926 report of the Crime Commission of New York's Sub-Commission on Penal Institutions stated that the state's prisons were operating at 120% of capacity. To alleviate the overcrowding, the report recommended increasing the capacity of the four existing prisons to 2,000 inmates and constructing a new prison. A law of 1927 (Chapter 56) appropriated $50,000 for acquisition of a site for the new prison. Construction began in Attica, Wyoming County, in 1929 with a $3.5 million appropriation from the sale of bonds.

Attica Prison was completed in early 1931 at a final cost of $9,000,000 to the state and was officially opened on June 14 of that year. Attica Prison was constructed and operated as a receiving prison, but during its early years, its inmate population was derived from the state' four other prisons and not from direct commitment from the courts.

In 1926, Chapter 606 reorganized the state government and established the Department of Correction. It also provided for the continuation of reporting by prison officials to the Department as mandated by Chapter 459 of the laws of 1847. This law required prison officials to provide a full account, accompanied by all necessary vouchers, of all monies received and expended. The comptroller was also to receive a general account of the receipts and expenditures for each month and an abstract of expenditures in detail. In addition, records were to be kept recording every punishment inflicted on a convict, the nature, amount, and by whom, and convict complaints regarding bad or insufficient food, lack of clothing, or cruel and unjust treatment by a prison keeper.

Laws of 1970, Chapter 475 established the Department of Correctional Services. This organization places the state's prisons under the supervision of the Commissoner of Correctional Services who appoints the Superintendents of prisons (formerly wardens).

The Commissioner is mandated by law to "prescribe a system of accounts and records to be kept at each correctional facility" and to "make rules and regulations for a record of photographs and other means of identifying each inmate received into the facility". The enabling legislation also requires the daily recording of fiscal matters and proceedings by the superintendent to be submitted on daily and annual dates to the Commissioner. This section of the law is very similar to the 1847 statute that originally mandated what records would be kept.

An inmate uprising focused national attention on this prison in September of 1971, when more than 1,000 inmates seized 32 guards as hostages in an attempt to win approval for a list of demands. The demands included coverage by state minimum wage law, freedom to be politically active, true religious freedom, end to censorship of reading materials, right to communicate with anyone at their own expense, realistic rehabilitation, better food, competent medical treatment, more recreation and less cell time, and no reprisals for those taking part in the uprising. After several days of negotiating, talks stalled on the questions of amnesty from criminal prosecution and the ouster of prison superintendent Mancusi. The next day 1,000 heavily armed state troopers, sheriff's deputies and prison guards stormed Attica under the cover of tear gas, killing 32 inmates but also 9 hostages in a hail of gunfire.

After the prison was resecured by state officials, a number of prisoners were transferred to other state facilities while the prison was repaired. Today Attica houses approximately 1,897 inmates.

From the description of Attica Correctional Facility Sub-agency history record. (New York State Archives). WorldCat record id: 84971781

Attica Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison housing males convicted of felonies who are 21 years of age or older committed directly by the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eight judicial districts of New York . It also receives felons 16 years of age and older by transfer from the Elmira Reception Center or other institutions.

A 1926 report of the Crime Commission of New York's Sub-Commission on Penal Institutions stated that the state's prisons were operating at 120% of capacity. To alleviate the overcrowding, the report recommended increasing the capacity of the four existing prisons to 2,000 inmates and constructing a new prison. A law of 1927 (Chapter 56) appropriated $50,000 for acquisition of a site for the new prison. Construction began in Attica, Wyoming County, in 1929 with a $3.5 million appropriation from the sale of bonds.

Attica Prison was completed in early 1931 at a final cost of $9,000,000 to the state and was officially opened on June 14 of that year. Attica Prison was constructed and operated as a receiving prison, but during its early years, its inmate population was derived from the state' four other prisons and not from direct commitment from the courts.

In 1926, Chapter 606 reorganized the state government and established the Department of Correction. It also provided for the continuation of reporting by prison officials to the Department as mandated by Chapter 459 of the laws of 1847. This law required prison officials to provide a full account, accompanied by all necessary vouchers, of all monies received and expended. The comptroller was also to receive a general account of the receipts and expenditures for each month and an abstract of expenditures in detail. In addition, records were to be kept recording every punishment inflicted on a convict, the nature, amount, and by whom, and convict complaints regarding bad or insufficient food, lack of clothing, or cruel and unjust treatment by a prison keeper.

Laws of 1970, Chapter 475 established the Department of Correctional Services. This organization places the state's prisons under the supervision of the Commissoner of Correctional Services who appoints the Superintendents of prisons (formerly wardens).

The Commissioner is mandated by law to "prescribe a system of accounts and records to be kept at each correctional facility" and to "make rules and regulations for a record of photographs and other means of identifying each inmate received into the facility". The enabling legislation also requires the daily recording of fiscal matters and proceedings by the superintendent to be submitted on daily and annual dates to the Commissioner. This section of the law is very similar to the 1847 statute that originally mandated what records would be kept.

An inmate uprising focused national attention on this prison in September of 1971, when more than 1,000 inmates seized 32 guards as hostages in an attempt to win approval for a list of demands. The demands included coverage by state minimum wage law, freedom to be politically active, true religious freedom, end to censorship of reading materials, right to communicate with anyone at their own expense, realistic rehabilitation, better food, competent medical treatment, more recreation and less cell time, and no reprisals for those taking part in the uprising. After several days of negotiating, talks stalled on the questions of amnesty from criminal prosecution and the ouster of prison superintendent Mancusi. The next day 1,000 heavily armed state troopers, sheriff's deputies and prison guards stormed Attica under the cover of tear gas, killing 32 inmates but also 9 hostages in a hail of gunfire.

After the prison was resecured by state officials, a number of prisoners were transferred to other state facilities while the prison was repaired. Today Attica houses approximately 1,897 inmates.

From the New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY. Agency record NYSV88-A216

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy (Buffalo, N.Y.). Monroe County Jail inmate artwork, and 40 years after the Attica uprising : looking back, moving forward, conference displays, 2011. SUNY at Buffalo, University at Buffalo
referencedIn New York (State). Special Commission on Attica. Investigation and interview files, 1971-1972. New York State Archives
referencedIn Wicker, Tom. Tom Wicker papers, 1917-1998 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Jordan, June, 1936-2002. Papers, 1936-2002 (inclusive), 1954-2002 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Carter, Robert L., 1917-2012. Papers, 1960-1993. Library of Congress
referencedIn Albertson, Dean, 1920-. Dean Albertson's History 384 oral history interview transcripts and student papers, 1975-1977. University of Massachusetts Amherst, W.E.B. Du Bois Library
referencedIn Jordan, June, 1936-2002. Audio collection of June Jordan [sound recording]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Tom Wicker papers, 1964-1993 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Attica Correctional Facility. Attica Correctional Facility Sub-agency history record. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Dept. of Correction. Division of Administration. Attica Prison inmate case files, [ca. 1940]-1956 (bulk 1947-1956). New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Special Commission on Attica. Motion picture film and videotapes of Attica Correctional Facility riot, 1971. New York State Archives
referencedIn Dean Albertson's History 384 Oral History Collection MS 224., 1975-1977 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
referencedIn New York (State). Special Commission on Attica. Audio tapes and transcripts of Commission hearings, 1972. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Governor. Printed reports and studies, 1975-1982. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. Division of Health Services. Hospital records of Attica Prison inmates, 1931-1963. New York State Archives
referencedIn Ryan, Michael. Attica. Transcribed Interview of Dalou Gonzalez, Oral history, ca. 1975-1977. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Attica Legal Defense benefit : PAD/D pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn New York (State). Governor (1959-1973 : Rockefeller). Central subject and correspondence files, 1959-1973. New York State Archives
creatorOf New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. Green Haven and Attica Correctional Facilities inmate case files, [ca. 1930-1979]. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Governor (1959-1973 : Rockefeller). Central subject and correspondence files, 1959-1973. New York State Archives
referencedIn Omowale, Jomo Joka. Jomo Joka Omowale papers, 1969-2008. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Campbell, Charles, C., b. 1894. Diaries, 1942-1957. New York State Library
creatorOf Dannemora State Hospital. Protestant Chaplain interview files from Dannemora State Hospital and state prisons, [ca. 1940-1973] New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. Division of Administration. Inmate case files, 1894-1995 (bulk [ca. 1925-1956]). New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Governor (1975-1982 : Carey). Central subject and correspondence files, 1975-1982. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Governor. Public information photographs, 1910-1992 (bulk 1945-1982). New York State Archives
referencedIn Robert L. Carter Papers, 1941-2006, (bulk 1969-2004) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Attica Correctional Facility. Facility maintenance vouchers, 1980-[ongoing]. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York (State). Governor. Audio and video tapes, 1951-1986. New York State Archives
referencedIn Carter, Robert L., 1917-2012. Robert L. Carter papers, 1941-2006 (bulk 1969-2004). Library of Congress
referencedIn New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. Inmate case files from multiple institutions, 1976-1988. New York State Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albertson, Dean, 1920- person
associatedWith Attica Prison. corporateBody
associatedWith Campbell, Charles, C., b. 1894. person
associatedWith Carter, Robert L., 1917-2012. person
associatedWith Dannemora State Hospital. corporateBody
associatedWith Jordan, June, 1936-2002. person
associatedWith New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. Division of Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. Division of Health Services. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Dept. of Correction. Division of Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Governor (1959-1973 : Rockefeller) corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Governor (1975-1982 : Carey) corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Special Commission on Attica. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
associatedWith Omowale, Jomo Joka. person
associatedWith Ryan, Michael. person
associatedWith Wicker, Tom. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Attica (N.Y.)
New York (State)
Wyoming County (N.Y.)
Attica (N.Y.)
Wyoming County (N.Y.)
New York (State)
New York (State)
Subject
Crime and criminals
Public records
Correctional institution
Occupation
Function
Accounting
Corrections

Corporate Body

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