The Prison Guard's Daughter: My Journey Through the Ashes of Attica

The Prison Guard's Daughter: My Journey Through the Ashes of Attica

The Prison Guard's Daughter: My Journey Through the Ashes of Attica

The Prison Guard's Daughter: My Journey Through the Ashes of Attica


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On the 50th anniversary of America’s deadliest prison riot comes a prison-guard daughter’s quest to uncover the truth about her father’s murder during the uprising―a story of crossing racial divides, befriending inmates and correctional officers alike, and challenging the state to reveal and pay for its malfeasance.

Deanne Quinn Miller was five years old when her father—William “Billy” Quinn—was murdered in the first minutes of the Attica Prison Riot, the only corrections officer to die at the hands of inmates. But how did he die? Who were the killers? Those questions haunted Dee and wreaked havoc on her psyche for thirty years. Finally, when she joined the Forgotten Victims of Attica, she began to find answers. This began the process of bringing closure not only for herself but for the other victims’ families, the former prisoners she met, and all of those who perished on September 13, 1971—the day of the “retaking,” when New York State troopers and corrections officers at the Attica Correctional facility slaughtered twenty-nine rioting prisoners and ten hostages in a hail of gunfire.

In The Prison Guard’s Daughter, Dee brings readers in on her lifelong mission for the truth and justice for the Attica survivors and the families of the men who lost their lives. But the real win was the journey that crossed racial and criminal-justice divides: befriending infamous Attica prisoner Frank “Big Black” Smith, meeting Richard Clark and other inmates who tried to carry her father to safety after his beating, and learning what life was like for all of the people―prisoners and prison employees alike―inside Attica. As Miller lays bare the truth about her father’s death, the world inside Attica, and the state’s reckless raid and coverup, she conveys a narrative of compassionate humanity and a call for prison reform.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635768046
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 09/07/2021
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 656,216
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Deanne Quinn Miller is co-founder of the Forgotten Victims of Attica and the daughter of correctional officer William Quinn, the first casualty of the Attica Prison Riot. With Miller’s leadership, the Forgotten Victims secured $12 million in reparations for its members, counseling for all who sought it, and an annual memorial at the prison. The organization continues to push for other goals—the unsealing of the remaining thousands of pages of non-public riot records and an apology from the New York State.

Miller has previously worked as the executive director of the Genesee Veterans Support Network and received the state Women Veterans in the Justice System award in 2016 and the Women of Distinction Award in 2017 for her work with veterans. She graduated cum laude from the Universityof New York at Buffalo with a BS in Consumer and Family Studies. Since 2014, she has been the Program Coordinator for the Veterans Defense Program of the New York State Defenders Association, a program that provides support and legal aid to struggling veterans who become involved in the criminal justice system. Miller lives in Batavia, New York, and is married with two daughters.

Gary Craig is an investigative reporter with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. He has won national awards for his reporting and writing—including multiple awards for reporting on prison conditions—and more than two dozen state, regional, and national honors. He is the author of Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink’s Heist.

Craig covered the resolution of the decades-long lawsuit filed by Attica inmates against the state. Since 2000, he has written extensively about Attica, reporting on the birth and work of the Forgotten Victims of Attica, and the efforts to open Attica records. Craig lives in Rochester, New York, and is married with two daughters.

Table of Contents

Foreword Malcolm Bell, former state prosecutor in the Attica uprising investigation ix

Prologue xiii

Chapter 1 The Prison Whistle 1

Chapter 2 Struggles at Home 13

Chapter 3 Life beyond Attica 25

Chapter 4 The Radio Show 34

Chapter 5 My Father's Killers 50

Chapter 6 Attica Families Reunite 57

Chapter 7 Demands of the Forgotten Victims 65

Chapter 8 Our Lobbying Begins 74

Chapter 9 He Was Like a Guardian Angel 82

Chapter 10 The Guard Who Survived 89

Chapter 11 Big Black and I 103

Chapter 12 Increasing the Pressure 111

Chapter 13 Meeting the Attica Prosecutor 117

Chapter 14 Taking Our Case Public 127

Chapter 15 Meeting Richard 133

Chapter 16 The Workmen's Compensation Ruse 140

Chapter 17 Task Force Heats Up 145

Chapter 18 The Pains of 9/11 151

Chapter 19 Shattered Dreams 160

Chapter 20 I Thought My Dad Was Superman 166

Chapter 21 All of These People on That List Are Dead? 172

Chapter 22 I Couldn't Stand on That Ground Again 185

Chapter 23 The Negotiations Stall 199

Chapter 24 Saying No to $10 Million 207

Chapter 25 Restitution for Survivors 215

Chapter 26 The Riot Artifacts 223

Chapter 27 Opening the Records 233

Chapter 28 Seeking an Apology 241

Epilogue 245

Acknowledgments 253

Sources 257

Index 263

About the Authors 271

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