Final Report

CRIME & INVESTIGATION – Monday 13 April, 7.30pm

Using a wealth of film and photographic archive, this new episode presents a detailed account of the events that led up to the Attica prison uprising in New York in 1971 – as well as the four days of negotiations that ensued, the forceful retaking of the prison by New York State Police and the reprisals carried out against inmates afterwards. For the first time on television, we hear taped conversations between President Richard Nixon and New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, in which they discuss the retaking of Attica, as well as documents confirming FBI surveillance during the negotiations. Both the tapes and the documents, unearthed by University of North Carolina history Professor Heather Thompson, shed new light on the level to which the White House closely monitored the events at Attica. We also address the multi-year legal struggles by both the Attica inmates and the corrections officers (and their respective estates) who were wounded or killed in the retaking. Finally, we’ll look at how the legacy of Attica fundamentally changed some aspects of life inside US prisons and, just as importantly, how officials have handled prison insurrections in the years since.