Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy Setting & Symbolism

Heather Ann Thompson
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Attica Correctional Facility

In 1971, the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York was home to 2,243 prisoners, a vast majority of which were young urban minorities. The prison’s cells “looked in 1970 just as they had when the prison was built in the 1930s” (7). While Attica was known as a maximum-security facility, due to overcrowding it housed murderers as well as those who merely broke parole. Across the board, however, inmates were subject to strict rules, bare-minimum provisions, overt racism, and physical abuse from guards. Attica’s prisoners were separated into five housing blocks, and one’s work detail while at Attica was dependent on one’s housing block. Inmates at Attica were issued one coat, two shirts, three pairs of pants, one pair of shoes, six pairs of socks, and one comb. Once per month, inmates were given one bar of soap and one roll of toilet paper...

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This section contains 2,331 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy Study Guide
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