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The Attica Uprising and its Aftermath, 1971-2015

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. 
The 1971 uprising at Attica Correctional Facility in Western New York.


This Timeline of Events provides key dates in the history of the uprising and its aftermath.  Beginning with the inmates' seizure of control of the facility, it traces the course of the legal actions that followed, concluding with the recent release of previously withheld portions of the Meyer investigation into criminal allegations against law enforcement.  


The guide to Collections Relating to the 1971 Attica Correctional Facility Uprising provides information on the scope of records and the context in which they were created.  


The Name Index includes individual names appearing in the records of various state agencies whose records are held by the New York State Archives.   The following record series include entries specific to the Attica uprising:

Digital Collections

The Digital Collections topic, The Attica Uprising, allows you to search and browse digitized records from multiple series.  The feature includes documents, audio, and video files from the New York State Governor, Department of Law, and Division of the State Police.