We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Backtracking: In Our Times: Attica prison reaction, education made news in September 1971

1 0 0

A prison riot, local reactions to it and local education were prime newsmakers during September 1971.

Readers of The Oneonta Star of Sept. 13 were informed, “A two-day riot of mostly black convicts was put down by massed forces by the state at Attica prison Monday, in a furious attack behind shotguns, rifles and tear gas. Thirty-seven persons were found dead — nine white hostages and 27 prisoners.”

The region’s law enforcers were on hand to assist and witness the turmoil, including 22 policemen from the Oneonta area and 50 state police from Troop C. Among all, none were injured during the five days on remote duty.

Local reaction was mixed to the uprising. Tom Balche of Oneonta said in the Sept. 14 Star edition, “The place (Attica) is way overcrowded. They should have more prisons than what they’ve got.”

Joan Rosenberg, then a senior at SUNY Oneonta said, “Governor Rockefeller should have gone to Attica. If they had the right mediators, there wouldn’t be … men dead.”

Earl Smith of Oneonta felt, “If those guys (prisoners) would have behaved themselves, they wouldn’t be in jail.”

James Couden of Oneonta added, “This situation is not only in New York State, but in penal institutions........

© The Daily Star

Get it on Google Play