Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The 1971 Attica Prison Riotin Mainstream and Alternative Newsprint: Framing Conflict Seeking Transformation


School of Criminal Justice


College of Community and Public Service

Date Range



The Attica Prison riot of 1971 highlighted a tumultuous era of race relations within the United States. Akil Al-Jundi (1941-1997), Attica Brothers Defense Fund information minister, suggested that "these struggles shatter prisoner invisibility, and their plight intrudes, however briefly, on the public's consciousness" (Weiss, 1999: 176). This research will examine this perspective as promoted in newsprint media representation of the Attica Prison riot emanating from mainstream and alternative news sources of the era. Applying a content analysis method rooted in qualitative frame analysis, 165 newsprint articles published between 1971 and 1973 from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Defender will be analyzed for dominant, residual and emerging frames that were presented to the reading public. How those frames served to shape the publics' consciousness surrounding prisoners and prisonization within Attica and across the United States, how the Attica conflict magnified racial and criminal justice system disparities and tensions, as well as how transformative processes were hindered by an advancing crime control model will be examined. The capacity for transformative justice through conflict will be assessed in relation to peacemaking criminological perspectives.

Conference Name

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Toronto, Canada

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