Attica prison riot documents have been sealed for 42 years, but now New York state is seeking their release to improve public understanding of what is still the nation’s deadliest prison rebellion and to help bring closure for families and former employees, Fox News reported on Oct. 28.
The Attica prison riot documents include some 570 pages divided into several volumes and are known collectively as the Meyer Commission Report after the now-late judge who led the prison riot investigation. The first volume of the Attica prison riot documents was released four years after the riot, but the other volumes were sealed in 1981 because they contain jury testimony.
The Attica prison riot occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, in 1971, when inmates took control of the maximum-security prison and demanded political rights and better living conditions. The five-day Attica prison riot ended within minutes on Sept. 13, when state troopers and guards stormed the Attica prison. In the end, 11 prison staff and 32 inmates died — all but four had been shot by troopers and correction officers who fired hundreds of rounds in six minutes. Another 89 men were wounded.
Now, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman wants the historical Attica prison riot documents made public, the Inquisitr reported. The attorney general’s office has petitioned the state Supreme Court in Wyoming County to unseal the documents. Schneiderman included proposed redactions to protect witnesses who testified before the grand jury about the Attica riot.
Backing the attorney general’s effort is a group called the Forgotten Victims of Attica, a group of prison employees who survived and relatives of those who died. A New York Times opinion piece about the group said that there had been years of deceit, coverup and injustice about the Attica prison riot.
In his call to unseal the Attica prison documents, Schneiderman said that it's time to bring transparency to what he referred to as one of the state government's darkest chapters.