Right before visiting Attica State Prison, I’m going to admit, fear filled my entire body. With how all of these TV shows and movie portray Prisons, I imagined that we would walk into the facility, and that we would have all of these intimidating inmates yelling at us to purposely make us nervous. Since we were on a school tour, I thought that the inmates would be temporarily locked in their cell until our visit was over, so that we would not have to worry about any potential harm.
When we first walked into the facility, like normal visitors, we all went through the screening of metal detectors for security purposes. As the tour began, we were told that all of the inmates are required to wear green pants, so we will be able to tell them apart from anyone else. As we walked into the first block, I realized that the inmates were not separated from us. Some were in their cells, but all of the gates were unlocked and opened. Majority of them were walking around, doing their normal daily routines. I could not believe the discipline in the facility, it was nothing like I imagined. All of the inmates were respectful to us, and none of them even spoke. I was also surprised at how the inmates treated the Correctional Officers; they all had mutual respect towards each other. I was also surprised to hear that the inmates are the ones who maintain everything in the facility: the cleaning, preparing meals, repairing, etc.-the facility was kept so clean, and had everything running in a smooth, organized manner.
The Attica visit was an amazing experience that I am very glad that I was able to be a part of. It really allowed me to clear up all of my myths about the facilities, and see for myself what it is really like. I would like to thank the Attica faculty, Dr. Porter, Dr. Scott, and the Criminal Justice Student Association E-Board for putting this event together!