Maker: Ernest Pignon Ernest
Date Made: 1974
Place Made: United States
Measurements: 56 cm x 42 cm; 22 1/16 in x 16 9/16 in
Main Subject: Prisons & Prisoners; Viet Nam War Era
Materials: paper (fiber product); wrapped, corners
Ernest Pignon Ernest 74. Attica
Acquisition Number: 1992-098
Copyright status unknown; may be protected by copyright law.
On September 9, 1971, inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in upstate New York, rioted. The underlying causes were overcrowding, poor food, inadequate medical care, rigid censorship and meager visiting rights. Four days after inmates seized control of an exercise yard and took guards as hostages, New York’s Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller ordered state troopers to attack. 43 people died at Attica. Nearly all were killed—inmates and hostages alike—when state troopers stormed the prison and fired indiscriminately through a thick haze of tear gas. The assault took six minutes. Subsequently the troopers and Attica guards lied about what had happened, and resorted to brutal reprisals, beating and torturing inmates. In January 2000, a federal judge in Rochester, NY awarded $8 million to inmates who were beaten and tortured, as well as $4 million for lawyers’ fees.