skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 97440 Find in a Library
Title: Orgy of Brutality at Attica and the 'Killing Ground' at Santa Fe - A Comparison of Prison Riots (From Prison Violence in America, P 73-87, 1985, Michael Braswell et al, ed. - See NCJ-97435)
Author(s): S Mahan
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sale Source: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
2035 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses collective violence in institutional settings and highlights the similarities and differences in the riots at the Attica State Correctional Facility (New York) in September 1971 and at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe in February 1980.
Abstract: The costs of the two riots are reviewed: 43 men died at Attica, making it the most deadly riot in American history, and 33 died at the New Mexico Penitentiary. At Santa Fe, the deaths were all murders of prisoners by other prisoners; whereas at Attica, 4 deaths were caused by prisoners and 39 by State officers. The Attica prisoners were mostly black; the majority of those at Santa Fe were Chicano. Another major difference was the type of inmate leadership that emerged in the course of the riot. At Attica, an overarching leadership group was formed, but decisions were made by the entire group of rioters. At Santa Fe, prisoners formed bands and cliques, and decisions were made on a personal basis. Despite these and other differences, the feelings expressed by prisoners at both institutions were similar as were the causes of the riots, including overcrowding and the lack of meaningful activities for prisoners. Additionally, the lack of emergency preparedness on the part of corrections officials at both institutions is discussed, as is the level of State government involvement in the two corrections systems. Finally, lessons learned from both riots are summarized, and the need to reform prisons so that prisoners are treated humanely is emphasized. Twenty-nine references are listed.
Index Term(s): Case studies; Collective violence; Comparative analysis; New Mexico; New York; Prison disorders; Riot causes
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.