In remarks at Vassar New York State Senator John R. Dunne, chairman of the New York State Senate Crime and Correction Committee, spoke out against proposals for "maximum maximum security" prisons in the wake of violent riots the previous month at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, NY.  An advocate of prison reform since his election to the Senate in 1965, Senator Dunne was specifically requested by prisoner negotiators for the subsequent ten-man Citizens Negotiating Committee, which he chaired.  Under his leadership, the committee vowed to hold complete and immediate investigations in the causes of the Attica riots and bloodshed.

An editorial in The Miscellany News the day after his appearance, said, "the man was sincere about his ideas for prison reform," and it urged "all interested [to] watch Senator Dunne within the next few months to see what he actually accomplished.... Or, better still, don't just watch him, work for prison reform yourself as he suggested."