Interview with Russell Oswald

If you could just explain once again the three demands that stalled everything, the demand for safe passage to a neutral country, for amnesty. Can you characterize what those demands were. In your book you said that they were not prison reform, those were revolutionary demands. If I asked you what was it about the three immediate demands that the inmates had that you couldn't grant, what was it?


Well, the, the demands that they made that I couldn't, ah, oblige them with or acquiesce with were first, they wanted to be shipped to a non-imperialistic country. Obviously I couldn't do that. I couldn't let them go when, when they're rioting in an institution. Secondly, they asked that they get complete amnesty from prosecution. I couldn't do that for, if they were capital crimes. Three, they asked for the removal of the warden, Mancusi. And I refused to do that which would have been, ah, ridiculous. Everyone, every prison would ask for the removal of the warden the next day if they could do that. The, the great thing, I think, that Warden Mancusi did was, ah, when I refused that, he came to me and said "I'll be glad to resign if you want me to." And I said, "No, I won't take the resignation."