The Westchester County Jail Riots of 1981

Thursday, July 8th
7:00–8:00 p.m.
Click here to register.

Jails and prisons that offer little in the way of rehabilitation. Drug laws that unfairly target people of color. These conditions plague today’s criminal justice system. Forty years ago, they were also the focus of complaints by Westchester County Jail inmates, leading them to stage an unprecedented uprising. Seth Kershner, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts, discusses the July 1981 uprising at Westchester County Jail–three riots in three days that caused one million dollars in damage. Although inmates hoped to amplify complaints about racism in the county’s criminal justice system, their efforts to attract public sympathy ironically ended up fueling the New York State prison-building boom of the 1980s. You won’t want to miss this presentation, which promises to add valuable context to contemporary debates over prisons and policing.


This program is supported by the White Plains Library Foundation.

Categories: Library News.


  1. Michael

    When describing programs, the Library should not represent opinions as fact. There are many of us who would disagree that the United States and its legal system are racist. Hopefully, the White Plains Library will offer additional programing which represents the opposite viewpoint.

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