Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Friday, July 18, 1997

Attica Correctional Facility inmate hangs self in cell

ATTICA - An inmate at the Attica Correctional Facility hung himself Thursday in his cell using his belt.

Inmate James Panzardi was found hanging in his cell at 4:55 p.m. by his cellmate, who was returning from his work assignment in the messhall. The belt was attached to the top of the cell bars and around Panzardi's neck. Panzardi's cellmate called for assistance and three Correction Officers responded to the cell and cut down the inmate. Attempts by the Officers and medical staff to revive Panzardi were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at Genesee Memorial Hospital at 6:07 p.m.

Panzardi was last seen alive at 4:20 p.m. by an Officer who was making rounds of the cellblock. The cause of death has not been determined, pending the results of an autopsy.

Panzardi, 22, was serving a term of 13 1/3 to 40 years for three 1993 convictions out of Monroe County: first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was received into the state prison system on July 14, 1993, and had been an inmate at Attica since Jan. 23, 1995. Panzardi would not have been eligible for parole until Feb. 24, 2005. His conditional release date was June 24, 2018, and his maximum term would have expired Oct. 24, 2031.

The hanging is the fourth suicide in the state prison system this year. The last suicide, also a hanging, occurred earlier Thursday afternoon at Mohawk Correctional Facility in Oneida County. The last suicide at Attica, also a hanging, occurred April 28, 1996.

There were 12 suicides in the state prison system last year.

Attica, a maximum-security prison in Wyoming County, opened in 1931. It currently houses 2,206 inmates.