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Learning About Attica No Longer Banned in New York Prisons

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The restriction on reading material in prisons is one of so many ways the criminal injustice system needs to change. After a long fight, New York prisoners can now actually read about the Attica prison uprising.

New York authorities have lifted a ban that had stopped state prison inmates from reading a book about the 1971 Attica Correctional Facility uprising following a First Amendment lawsuit brought by its author.

State officials, however, said they will continue to censor one small part of the Pulitzer-prize winning book for security reasons. A two-page map of Attica will be removed from copies sent into the prisons.

Author Heather Ann Thompson, a historian and professor at the University of Michigan, sued the state’s prisons in March over the ban on her book “Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971.”

Published in 2016, the book is one of the most comprehensive accounts of the uprising, where more than 1,300 inmates took over part of a prison in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. It ended when state troopers and guards shot tear gas into a prison yard before firing hundreds of rounds into the smoke.

God forbid prisoners be able to learn about their own condition….

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