Forty-five years after the prison uprising at Attica, much of it remains shrouded in mystery. Even more revealing, most Millennials and Americans are unfamiliar with the prisoner rebellion. Thankfully, the brilliant historian and University of Michigan Professor Heather Ann Thompson has penned a new book, “Blood in the Water,” that not only tells the story of inmates demanding basic human rights, but also unearths new information that those who wish to perpetuate the system of mass incarceration would prefer be kept secret.
During our conversation, Thompson describes the conditions that led the inmates in Attica to throw off their shackles and how the lessons of Attica can be applied to prisons across the nation in the present day.
Kevin Patrick Kelly: What were some of the conditions that led to the uprising in Attica?