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Attica Reads About Attica

A story of brutality clears the prison censors.

Names of some inmates and guards have been blacked out; an aerial photograph of Attica Correctional Facility has been deleted as a potential security threat. And a closing quote from an inmate who suggests, voicing a despair felt by many, that it just might take another riot at the infamous prison to win relief from ongoing brutality, was also vigorously crossed out.

Related Read our original story about the beating of George Williams and the culture at Attica prison.

But other than those deletions by prison officials, the rest of the Marshall Project's lengthy report on ongoing brutality at Attica that appeared in the March 1 edition of the New York Times has been released to inmates, officials say.

Prison officials had moved quickly after publication to block all copies of the Times containing the 7,000-word front page article about a brutal inmate beating that led to criminal charges against a trio of correction officers at Attica, along with other incidents at the prison. Under rules spelled out in an agency directive, the corrections department reserves the right to block or redact any material representing "a possible threat to orderly facility operations."

But following scrutiny by the state correction department's Central Office Media Review Committee, the article was approved for distribution to inmates who have Times subscriptions a few days later. Censors did not delete the names of the three guards who pleaded guilty to official misconduct for the 2011 beating of inmate George Williams. (The men lost their prison jobs but avoided jail time in the plea deal.) Among the sentences that made it past prison censors was this one at the article's end: "'We feel Albany doesn’t give a damn,' one inmate said, voicing despair rather than menace."

Explore the redactions prison officials made to The Marshall Project's story in The New York Times.

View the redacted version of the article with explanations of each change by prison censors.

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