ATalking History Project

 

The McKay Commission

(New York State Special Commission on Attica) Hearings


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Commission Sessions and Summaries

Rochester Hearings ~ April 14, 1972 (Morning)

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Summaries and Witnesses:

Part 1: Audio, 44:34, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript, pages 515-551. The audio begins on page 518. Judge Charles Willis examines Robert Van Buren who is an industrial superintendent. Willis explores topics such as the nature of work in the metal shop, the motivation of workers, how prison workers are promoted within the prison, and the effectiveness of work training.

Part 2: Audio, 18:04, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript, pages 551-600. Judge Willis examines Paul Ternullo who is a print shop manager at Attica. Ternullo tells Willis about activities in the print shop and the staffing levels at the shop. Then Ternullo is briefly questioned by Mrs. Guerrero. Transcript readers should note that pages 565 through 599 were omitted in the published manuscript.

Part 3: Audio, 21:58, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript, pages 600-618. Liman examines a prisoner named Edward Young about prison life. Young is a model prisoner.

Part 4: Audio, 26:46 Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript, pages 618-639. Liman continues examination of Young. They discuss the parole rules in New York State and the difficulties Young has had obtaining legal advice.

Part 5: Audio, 38:02 Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript, pages 640-674. Judge Willis examines Ernest Sowell, an Attica prisoner. Sowell discusses his experiences with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) program, located in Attica's "E" block. He discusses his need for medication to treat his epilepsy and then the questioning focuses on the prison's school program.

Rochester Hearings ~ April 14, 1972 (Afternoon)

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Summaries and Witnesses:

Part 1: Audio, 31:05, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript, pages 675-698. Liman examines Ralph Bottone, a corrections sergeant. Liman asks Bottone to compare his work experiences at a previous institution, Woodbourne Narcotics Center, to Attica prison. Mr. Henix asks Bottone what changes could have been made to prevent the revolt at Attica. Liman returns to the examination and asks Bottone about language issues between inmates and officers, and explores Bottone's opinions abour "militant" inmates.

Part 2: Audio, 22:27, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript 698-716. Rothschild, Wilbanks, Broderick, and Wadsworth continue questioning Bottone, especially about prisoners' frustrations towards officers.

Part 3: Audio, 26:28, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcript 717-736. Listeners should note that the audio is muffled for the first 20 minutes. Liman examines Donald Head, a correction officer who oversees the coal gangs. Liman asks him why he is liked so much by the inmates. Wilbanks, Rothschild, and Broderick examine Head on the cohesive work culture of the coal gang.

Part 4: Audio, 28:08, Minutes. Rochester Public Hearings, transcripts 736-758. Willis examines Alton Germain who is a civilian employee at Attica. Willis asks Germain about his experiences as a teacher at Attica. They discuss the stressful work conditions, shortage of teachers, inappropriate types of examinations, and lack of Spanish language teaching materials.

 

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