Interview with Michael Smith

Okay, tell me about the communication that started to occur between inmates and hostages and the, and the sense in which you became one community rather than two groups in opposition. What happened?


Inmates and correction officers, for the most part, lacked communication partly because of the different backgrounds from which they came. Correction officers were primarily from rural communities and had grown up there. And, even though, weren't as outward as Ku Klux Klansman, some had feelings of bigotry and had no desire to communicate with the inmate population. In the same way there were inmates that weren't interested in communicating with their captors. The common basis of communication during the riot was that the inmates and the hostages had the same thing at stake, their lives. So now, there was, there was, ah, readiness to communicate because everybody had the same common goal and everybody, everyone would benefit from a positive outcome to the riot.