Location: Attica, NY
Notable Residents: David Berkowitz, Mark David Chapman, H. Rap Brown
Amenities: Tear gas systems in the mess hall and industry areas
It's not a game at Attica. Operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services, the prison holds inmates who were problematic at other facilities. Built during the 1930s, some of the most dangerous and high-profile criminals have passed through the walls of Attica. To illustrate how serious it is in the prison, consider that there is a tear gas system installed in the mess hall and and industry areas that has been used many times over the years. Though just as notorious, Attica differs from the infamous Rikers Island because it houses inmates who are serving sentences of varying lengths, thus making it a prison rather than a jail.
Attica is best remembered for its 1971 riot. When inmates learned of George Jackson's death at San Quentin State Prison, nearly half of the population took over the facility, holding 42 officers and civilians hostage. Prisoners created a lengthy list of demands, and after four days, authorities agreed to 28 of them, but would not grant the prisoners amnesty for strong-arming the prison. Heavily armed state police were sent inside Attica, and the bloody aftermath left several unarmed prisoners dead. When it was over 43 people, including 10 officers and civilian employees were dead. Jackson's murder wasn't the sole reason for the riot, as prisoners were subjected to horrible living conditions, including overcrowding and a single weekly shower. They reached their breaking point, something that happens again and again in the history of the incarcerated.