The 1971 uprising at Attica Correctional Facility in Western New York was one of the most significant events in the history of the American corrections system. Scholars and professionals in the criminal justice field, as well the current inmate population, look to the lessons of Attica for guidance in addressing conditions in American prisons. The State Archives began receiving records directly related to the uprising from state agencies in 1990, a process that continues to this day.
Most of the records stem from investigations and legal proceedings undertaken in response to the uprising. Many records transferred in their original analog audio and video formats have recently been digitized to render them more accessible. A significant recent addition is a series of legal documents, hand selected and digitized by the State Attorney General’s Office. These relate primarily to class action proceedings initiated by former Attica inmates and their survivors against state officials implicated in the armed retaking of the facility and reassertion of control.