Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Criminal Justice Administration

First Advisor

Dr. K. S. Murty


This thesis provides a first-hand account of the Cuban detainees' riot at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary from November 23, 1987 through December 4, 1987. The writer, a participant observer and a prison guard, reports chronologically the events of the riot from the viewpoints of the detainees, the guard force, and U. s. officials. The Marielito background of the rioters and their pre-prison conditions are examined. The researcher analyzes the factors leading to the riot, the dynamics of the riot situation, and the uprising consequences. This occurs within a sociological-historical frame of reference. Stress is placed on how the Cuban detainees won by negotiating a change in personal identity and status from foreign, low-life convict, to that of potential U.S. citizen.

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