Why it matters: A federal appellate court has sustained a class action suit filed by attorneys on behalf of Attica State Correctional Facility’s inmates who were affected by the retaking of D-Yard, which resulted in the deaths of 33 inmates and 10 hostages in 1971. The suit also sought damages for the lack of medical and personnel resources.
What they are saying: The Attica Justice Committee, which includes several public figures and artists, has been formed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the uprising and to support the Attica plaintiffs and their families during the Buffalo trial. The trial’s budget is estimated at $100,000, including expenses for witnesses’ transportation.
The big picture: The pending lawsuit is expected to reveal the perfidy of the prison officials and their refusal to respond to the filed grievances by the inmates. The suit’s real value is to emphasize that conditions in US penitentiaries have worsened since 1971.
What to watch: The Buffalo trial could take six to seven months, regarding the use of force against inmates at Attica in 1971.
My take: The use of deadly force against inmates and hostages by US correctional facilities does not solve any issue. Instead, it worsens the situation and instigates resentment. Effective measures should be taken to improve the conditions in penitentiaries.