SEPTEMBER 14 COALITION
TO END MASS INCARCERATION AND CLOSE ATTICA
September 25, 2012
For immediate release
Contact: Lewis Webb 212 598-0965
Gwen Debrow 718 849-6886
WHAT? DELIVERY OF PETITION/LETTERS TO GOVERNOR CUOMO DEMANDING THE CLOSING OF ATTICA PRISON
WHEN? WED, SEPT 26, 12 NOON – 1 PM
WHERE? 633 Third Avenue (corner 41st Street )
Following on what organizers describe as a hugely successful community gathering of at least 2100 people at Riverside Church , a coalition of sponsoring groups has asked to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his New York office on September 26 to discuss shutting down the nationally and internationally notorious Attica Correctional Facility.
The coalition also plans to deliver thousands of petitions at noon that day asking the Governor to "take a principled stance against one of our country's most enduring symbols of brutality and racism", and mass incarceration, by closing the prison.
The petition goes on to say that "closing Attica would not resolve larger systemic problems, but would be a first step on the part of New York State to address the widespread violations of basic human rights that exist throughout the prison system".
Attica was the scene of a four-day protest by the men incarcerated there in 1971 who demanded that their basic human and civil rights be respected. The protest ended in a massacre by the New York State Police and the National Guard which left 39 people dead, including ten guards, after then-governor, Nelson Rockefeller, refused to negotiate with the protestors.
Last year the Correctional Association of New York (CANY) issued a report which said that many of the severe problems that date back to 1971, still exist. The report particularly highlighted the rampant guard violence, brutality, and lack of accountability on the part of the guards for their abuse of the incarcerated men. According to the Correctional Association Report, people incarcerated at Attica who completed the Association's survey described "staff mistreatment that was far worse than almost all other CA-visited prisons in nearly every category of abuse".
The September 14th petition mentions that while Governor Cuomo has closed some prisons, he has not shuttered any
maximum security facilities, where most of the brutality and violence occur. It ends by saying that "four decades after the uprising, Attica does not only stand as a symbol for a legacy of racism and culture of brutality, but many of the actual conditions remain as they were in 1971". Attica is both an example and a major site of the abusive conditions that prevail in New York 's maximum security prisons.
The September14th Coalition declares that it joins the New York State Correctional Association in calling for the closing of Attica once and for all. It concludes that "if we are committed to humanity, respecting the lives of those lost in 1971, and the many brutalized today, we must close Attica ".
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC