New York State Special Commission on Attica Investigation and Interview Files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of investigation and interview files of the Special Commission on Attica (chaired by Robert B. McKay and known as the "McKay Commission"). The commission investigated the Attica Correctional Facility riot of 1971. Resulting records include personal interview sheets or transcripts; depositions and preliminary statements; copies of facility logs and other administrative records; lists of dead and wounded; draft commission reports; photographs; documents regarding negotiations with rioters; and documents confiscated from inmates.
94 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:
15855 next hit

Administrative History

The Special Commission on Attica (chaired by Robert B. McKay and known as the "McKay Commission") investigated the Attica Correctional Facility riot of 1971. Commission members were appointed by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, but the commission received its investigative powers from the Governor under the "Moreland Act" (Executive Law Section 6). The commission conducted numerous interviews and public and private hearings, and obtained information from almost everyone involved in the riot, from inmates to Governor Nelson Rockefeller, himself. The commission's final report contains a detailed account of the riot, as well as an analysis of prison administration and conditions prior to the riot.

Scope and Content Note

Records consist of personal interview sheets or transcripts (interview subjects include inmates, corrections officers, sheriffs and deputies, New York State Troopers, National Guard officers and personnel); State Trooper depositions and preliminary statements; copies of logs and other official documents; lists of dead and wounded; documents regarding negotiations with rioters; and documents and other items confiscated from inmates. There are also newspaper clippings; draft commission reports; public relations materials; photographs; and general information about prisons.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

"All investigative and interview materials are indefinitely restricted pursuant to Executive Law sect. 63.8 and Civil Rights Law sect. 73.8. Other records may be exempt from disclosure under the NY Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) sect. 87.2(b) (unwarranted invasion of personal privacy)."

Boxes 83-90 are open to researchers; they contain material determined to be disclosable under the Freedom of Information Law.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B2502 Ballistics Reports Prepared after the Retaking of the Attica Correctional Facility, and

Series B2506 Report on Inmates' Medical Treatment after the Retaking of Attica Correctional Facility, may contain related records.

Other finding aids

previous hit 15855-90: Folder list for open boxes 83-90 is available at the repository.

Custodial History

previous hit 15855 next hit-90: The McKay Commission records came into possession of the New York State Division of the Budget (DOB) and were transferred by DOB to the State Department of Law. Once the last civil claims arising out of the Attica riot were settled in late 1989, the Department of Law agreed to transfer the commission records to the State Archives.

previous hit 15855 next hit-04: This accretion consists of photocopies of records from the original accretion (previous hit 15855 next hit-90) that were supplied to the United States District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo at the request of the presiding judge. The original records depicted by these photocopies were returned to the New York State Department of Law.

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