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During the 1971 uprising at Attica State Prison, prisoners wearing cloaks and football helmets, some of them with makeshift weapons, waited to negotiate their demands with state officials.
Looking Back

Revisiting the Attica Riot in Real-Time 50 Years Later

The infamous 1971 prison revolt ended with a bloody police siege. We retell the story, minute-by-minute.

On the morning of Sept. 13, 1971, New York state troopers raided the rural upstate Attica prison where prisoners had taken control four days earlier, holding dozens of guards and other employees hostage and demanding reforms. By the time order was restored, 10 hostages and 29 prisoners had been killed by police gunfire. Scores more were wounded. Four others — one guard and three prisoners — were killed by the prisoners earlier in the rebellion.

The Marshall Project has written about the tensions and brutality that still pervade Attica today and the many books that explore the conditions that made Attica ripe for revolt and the investigations that followed.

To mark the 50th anniversary of this seminal moment in American criminal justice history, The Marshall Project told the story of the uprising from beginning to end. As we did five years ago for the 45th anniversary, we used Twitter to walk through the events that led up to the riot, the days of negotiations for the release of the hostages and finally, the violent state police siege that ended the stalemate.

Each tweet went out at roughly the same date and time as the events 50 years earlier. Here, we've collected the entire updated storyline from @atticasghosts.

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Sept. 8, 1971

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The Marshall Project produces journalism that makes an impact. Our investigation into violence using police dogs prompted departments from Indiana to Louisiana to change their policies. Thousands of cameras were installed in the infamous Attica prison after we revealed the extent of violent abuse by guards. Municipalities stopped charging parents for their kids’ incarceration because of our reporting. Supreme Court justices have cited us, along with incarcerated people acting as their own lawyers.

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