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Abstract

Everyone has heard the rallying cry “Attica! Attica!” These are words shouted in protest by many in the 1970s including John Lennon in his song “Attica State” in 1971 and Al Pacino in the movie “Dog day Afternoon” in 1975. But what happened at Attica State Correctional Facility in the rural town of Attica, NY in 1971 to cause the bloodiest day in American history up to that time? A prison built to be escape proof and virtually riot proof in 1931 exploded just forty years later in a violent four day riot that ended in a bloody massacre of inmates and hostages by the State Police. In studying the different causes of the 1971 Attica Prison Riot it becomes clear why it happened and how it could have been prevented.