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History of the Olympic Prison
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Class of 2021
Major:
Government
History
Minor:
Philosophy

Niamh Creedon-Carey is planning to graduate this April in the class of 2021. She's majoring in history and government with an interest in law and politics. This project inspired her to pursue a senior honors thesis in history on the topic of prison reform activism in the North Country. This project affirmed Niamh's passion for local history and helped her to develop research and writing skills.

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Description

Using primary documents in the St. Lawrence University special collections, this research project explores the controversial conversion of the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic village into a federal prison. The collection of documents includes newspaper clippings, correspondence, posters, and newsletters all related to the civil action group Stop the Olympic Prison (S.T.O.P.). The S.T.O.P. protest group was formed in response to the proposed usage of Olympic housing as a minimum-security prison for youthful offenders following the 1980 Olympics. By researching this specific controversy and instances of protest against prison construction this project explores the scope of protest against the corrections industry in upstate New York in the late 1970s. The late 70’s represents a moment in national and New York history just before the prison industrial complex expanded enormously. S.T.O.P. and debates over the Olympic Prison are illustrative of the questions Americans were asking about the relevance, effectiveness, and morality of prisons.