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Petition and press release: SEPTEMBER 14 COALITION TO END MASS INCARCERATION AND CLOSE ATTICA

Link to Shut Down Attica petition

September 18, 2012

For immediate release
Contact: Lewis Webb 212 598-0965
               Gwen Debrow 718 849-6886

     Following on what organizers describe as a hugely successful community gathering of over 2000 people at Riverside Church, a coalition of sponsoring groups is calling for a meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his New York office on September 26 to discuss shutting down the notorious Attica Correctional Facility.

     The coalition also plans to deliver thousands of petitions at noon that day asking Cuomo to “take a principled stance against one of our country’s most enduring symbols of brutality and racism”, and mass incarceration, by closing the prison.

     The petition goes on to say that “closing Attica would not resolve larger systemic problems, but would be a first step on the part of New York State to address the widespread violations of basic human rights that exist throughout the prison system”.

     Attica was the scene of a four-day protest by its men prisoners in 1971 demanding that their basic human and civil rights be respected. The protest ended in a massacre by the New York State Police which left 39 people dead, including ten guards, after the then-governor, Nelson Rockefeller, refused to negotiate with the residents.

     Last year the Correctional Association of New York (CANY) issued a report which described conditions at Attica as the same as in 1971. Among other items, the report noted that the incidence of violence among the men and staff at Attica was far higher than at other New York prisons. The Association recommended that the facility be shut down.

     The petition mentions that while Cuomo has closed some prisons, he has not shuttered any maximum security facilities, where most of the brutality and violence occur. It ends by saying that “if we are committed to humanity, respecting the lives of those lost in 1971, and the many brutalized today, we must close Attica”.

     One of the organizers of the petition delivery notes that September 26 is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. He goes on to say, “It’s only fitting that we are doing this on that day because the State of New York has never atoned for its actions in 1971 or its failure since then to address the root causes of that uprising. Together with the event at Riverside, this could be the beginning of a real movement to close Attica and end mass incarceration in the State of New York”.

 

### Link to Shut Down Attica petition

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UPDATED Sep 18, 2012 4:17 PM
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