Action Alert for Duane Peters of the Dallas 6

This comes from Support the SCI Dallas 6 (Pennsylvania):

PRISONER:
Duane Peters FP7306
SCI Mahanoy 301
Morea Rd,
Frackville, PA 17932

INFO:
Dallas 6 member Duane Peters has been under constant retaliation because of the Dallas 6 case. Some of the staff are the same staff that were at Dallas, some are family members, some friends. They are protecting the interests of the guards involved in this case.

As always, they came in the cell under the guise of a “contraband” search, flooded the cell and dropped legal documents and some artwork featuring the Dallas 6 into the water on the floor. This time, they have fashioned nooses and placed them in his cell. He continues to be told that he won’t make it to the Dallas 6 trial. He has been restricted from making phone calls and most importantly they are not letting him make ANY legal calls, which is court ordered. They continue to destroy and tamper with evidence. This is a reality for anyone with cases against the DOC or evidence that reveals their barbaric, tortuous treatment of inmates.

PLEASE CALL/FAX/EMAIL:

DOC Secretary John Wetzel
Phone: 717-728-4109
Fax: 717-728-4178
EMAIL: ra-contactdoc@pa.gov

DEMAND:
· Stop all harassment and retaliation to Duane Peters (his registration nr is: FP7306)
· Remind him that this issue has been brought to his attention at several town hall meetings and in writing and phone calls for the past two to three years
· Remind him that these reports are being shared with the Department of Justice and will continue to be shared with them
· If further harassment and retaliation continues, we will be asking for charges on everyone involved, from the guards up to the superintendent of SCI Mahanoy. The charges will be destroying evidence, ethnic intimidation and harassment.

*I would appreciate if you please email notes of your call to freedom4six@gmail.com.

WRITE A LETTER TO JUDGE GELB
Write a letter to Judge Gelb asking her to strictly enforce all of her court orders in the Dallas 6 case. Ask Judge Gelb to place an order against ethnic intimidation and retaliation and ensure that it is strictly enforced. If anyone wants a pre-made letter template, please email freedom4six@gmail.com for a copy.

Judge Lesa Gelb
Luzerne County Courthouose
200 N. River Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

SEND A LETTER

FAX/MAIL A LETTER TO LUZERNE “KIDS FOR CASH” COUNTY DA,
DEMAND SHE DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST the DALLAS 6

Here is the letter you can send to the district attorney asking to drop the charges against the Dallas 6
Please feel free to forward and share with anyone who may be interested in participating.

Fax# (570) 825-1622
Stefanie J. Salavantis, District Attorney
Luzerne County Courthouse
200 N River St
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

Dear District Attorney,

I am writing regarding the Dallas 6 case. This case has been in the courts going on five years. Carrington Keys, Duane Peters, Anthony Locke and Derrick Stanley have been waiting all these years for a chance to tell the truth in court. Anthony Kelly who pleaded out earlier has also been waiting for resolution of the case. False charges of rioting were brought against these men simply because they covered their cell windows to bring to your attention and the attention of other authorities gross violations of civil and human rights, abuse and torture that they experienced, witnessed and documented at SCI Dallas.

We know from the recent exposure of abuse by guards at Rikers Island and Attica prisons in New York State that there are many jurisdictions that are facing charges of gross abuse of prisoners. There are many in Pennsylvania and across the nation who know about the Dallas 6 men who are outraged that your office did not investigate the human rights violations that the men were non-violently protesting, but instead investigated and also charged the men with rioting for being whistleblowers!

Local and national organizations have endorsed and support these prisoners. All are watching. All are calling on your office to drop the charges against the Dallas 6, which are frivolous, false and vindictive, an abuse of power and a waste of taxpayers’ money. We call instead for an immediate investigation by your office, as well as by federal and state authorities, of the abuse of prisoners by guards at SCI Dallas and all Luzerne County prisons, and the prosecution of guilty parties, including of those in positions of responsibility who have been told about it, for allowing this injustice to continue.

Besides the obvious injustice of retaliation against the Dallas 6 for trying to draw attention to abuse of prisoners at SCI Dallas, other reasons your office should drop the charges include:
· Covering your window is a violation of DOC policy and should have been handled internally in the prisons, not through the courts.
· Covering your window is not a riot. It is impossible to hold a riot in solitary confinement.
· The only people injured during the incident were the peaceful prisoners who were physically attacked by guards.
· The men have endured well-documented human rights abuses at SCI Dallas and now further abuse and retaliation at SCI Mahanoy and SCI Retreat, which has been reported to the appropriate authorities.
· Trial has been consistently delayed for years, taking almost five years to prosecute a third class felony.
· The county and DOC have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars in housing, transportation, police and court costs bringing them back and forth across the state for a group vendetta by public servants.
· The District Attorney office has taken responsibility for redaction of videotapes without the consent, approval or knowledge of the judge.
· The District Attorney’s office has not turned over full discovery within these five years which is in contempt of court orders.

We have finally seen the justice system in New York begin to address the crisis of prisoner abuse by holding those responsible to account through criminal charges and dismissals of perpetrators. Luzerne County has experienced corruption and interpersonal relationships among officials — when will justice arrive and prevail at Luzerne County? You are responsible for the actions of those who are part of your office since they take your direction and carry out your decisions. Failure to drop the charges will expose to the public the lack of will of your office to investigate serious human rights violations, make your office complicit in the punishment of and retaliation against men who bravely tried to bring to your attention injustices and illegal practices at SCI Dallas, and raise questions about whether your personal relationship with people connected with SCI Dallas constitutes a serious conflict of interest.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,
Your Name/Title
Phone/Email

OR
FAX A LETTER
Fax: (570) 825-1622
OR BOTH
TO:
Stefanie J. Salavantis, Esquire
Luzerne County District Attorney
200 North River St.
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

POINTS
• The charges are false and retaliatory
• The only people injured during the incident were the prisoners who were peaceful
• The only violence was carried out by the guards, who should be on trial for abuse
• Covering your window is a violation of DOC policy and should have been handled internally not through the courts
• Covering your window is not a riot! It is impossible to hold a riot in solitary confinement. Everyone seems to know this except for your court.
• The District Attorney office has not turned over full discovery within these 5 years with no sanctions or contempt being cited against them.
• The District Attorney office has taken responsibility for redaction of videotapes without the consent, approval or knowledge of the judge. This is illegal.
• The county and DOC have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars in housing, transportation and court costs bringing them back and forth across the state for a personal vendetta
• Trial has been consistently delayed for years, taking almost 5 years to prosecute a 3rd class felony
• The men have endured well documented human rights abuses at SCI Dallas and now further abuse and retaliation at SCI Mahanoy and SCI Retreat, which has been reported to the proper authorities.

Thank you!

More information about the case of the six men who made a peaceful protest inside their solitary confinement cells inside SCI Dallas, PA, and who were severely and unjustly punished by PA DOC can be found by going to the support site.

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The case of the Dallas 6: Torture and retaliation against prisoner whistleblowers

by Shandre Delaney
SF Bay View, November 13th, 2014

Imagine sitting in a windowless 6-foot-by-9-foot room the size of a bathroom for 23 hours a day, unable to communicate with family or anyone on the outside. The lights are on 24/7. The only drinking water you have is brown from rust. You constantly hear mentally ill people screaming and harming themselves.

Within days of this torturous isolation you may begin to feel mental breakdown. Is this Guantánamo? Abu Ghraib? A torture chamber in some distant land? A torture chamber, yes, but a homegrown one.

This is solitary confinement in a state prison near you. The United States has many like the one in Dallas, Pennsylvania, a modern day dungeon, which imprisons people for years to face abuse and violence out of public view by guards paid with our tax dollars. But men inside also defend themselves and, even locked within their cells, try to fight back. One of those men was my son Carrington Keys.

The United States has many like the one in Dallas, Pennsylvania, a modern day dungeon, which imprisons people for years to face abuse and violence out of public view by guards paid with our tax dollars.

 

Six Black men – Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelly, Anthony Locke, Duane Peters, Derrick Stanley and Carrington, now known as the Dallas 6 – blew the whistle and took nonviolent action to stop the abuse. It started when the Human Rights Coalition (HRC), a grassroots group of prisoners, ex-prisoners, activists and family members like myself, began receiving letters from prisoners alleging abuse.

We built abuse logs with information about beatings; mental abuse; glass, metal, feces, spit, semen and urine in the food; mail tampering; deprivation of human contact; withholding medication; and starvation. Particularly upsetting to the men was the coerced suicide by guards of a mentally ill white man. “Seeing that body bag come out really shook me,” said Derrick Stanley, now free.

The men went through all the complaint channels. Carrington wrote to then District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll informing her of the abuses and asking for help. She never replied. He filed a lawsuit against her for turning a blind eye. He informed the family of the man coerced into suicide and they sued and won an undisclosed sum.

HRC compiled the abuse logs into the Institutionalized Cruelty report. But instead of ceasing, the abuse escalated. On April 29, 2010, after young Isaac Sanchez was bound, naked and bloody, to a restraint chair for at least 16 hours (two hours is the legal limit), the men peacefully covered their cell windows to ask for outside intervention.

Covering a cell window is a signal in Pennsylvania prisons to summon a captain, who is required to come down, so that the prisoner can make complaints directly to him about a guard or circumstance that they have exhausted all other means to resolve. Instead, guards in riot gear pepper-sprayed, tasered and beat the unarmed men.

The six were originally charged with refusing to obey an order, a misconduct charge handled within prison. Four months later, however, after the assaults became public when HRC filed a criminal complaint against the Department of Corrections (DOC), Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, the DOC and the state police conspired to charge these men with riot, a felony.

Although former Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan now sit in prison for incarcerating youth for kickbacks (the “kids for cash” scandal), the corruption that enabled their outrageous crimes continues to flourish, as demonstrated by this malicious frame-up and cover-up.

Covering a cell window is a signal in Pennsylvania prisons to summon a captain, who is required to come down, so that the prisoner can make complaints directly to him about a guard or circumstance that they have exhausted all other means to resolve.

 

A common wish of prisoners is to be treated like human beings. They expect to do their time and come out. While guards are not expected to be courteous or sociable, they are expected not to harass, threaten, shout racial slurs, provoke suicide or retaliate because you use your right to complain about their lack of professionalism and ethics.

Whatever a person’s sentence, it does not include torture, abuse or murder. The law should be upheld. The guards and those covering up for them should be on trial, not the Dallas 6.

A common wish of prisoners is to be treated like human beings.

 

The Dallas 6 are part of a movement of prisoners, such as the California and Georgia prisoner hunger and work strikers, who use peaceful resistance to counter rampant abuses in solitary, crossing racial divides and ending hostilities among themselves to do so.

The Dallas 6 trial started Nov. 10, is scheduled to continue Nov. 17-20 and may resume in February. This is a landmark case for all who believe in justice, anti-racism and human rights. The public needs to know, and the decent guards need to be supported rather than letting their brutish colleagues dominate the DOC with their illegal sadism in prisons and courtrooms. We demand accountability.

Shandre Delaney, coordinator of the Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign and mother of Carrington Keys, one of the Dallas 6, has been an advocate for human and civil rights for 15 years at Human Rights Coalition and Abolitionist Law Center in Pittsburgh. She can be reached at sd4hrc@gmail.com. This story first appeared on Truthout. Visit scidallas6.blogspot.com and the Facebook page for the latest information.

Support the SCI Dallas 6!

From: SF Bay View, Nov, 13, 2014

The Dallas 6 trial, begun Nov. 10, is back in session at least through Nov. 20 at Luzerne County Courthouse; transportation is available to and from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – email sd4hrc@gmail.com. Two stories follow.

The Dallas 6 go to court
by Mumia Abu-Jamal

They are called the Dallas 6 – and we ain’t talking about Texas.
Dallas, in Pennsylvania, is one of nearly 30 prisons in the state, located in its rural outback. The six are young Black men who, in 2010, tried to stage a peaceful protest in the prison’s “hole,” its solitary confinement unit.

They were moved to such protest after witnessing another prisoner, Isaac Sanchez, being strapped into a torture chair (prison officials call it a “restraint chair”) for hours – even overnight. When guards threatened to do the same to them, the men tried to cover their cell doors with their bedding – and refused to leave their cell, in an effort to protect themselves.

The guards armed themselves with batons and electrified equipment, and they stormed the six cells, leaving the men beaten, bloody, naked, eyes burning, their flesh seared with pepper spray.

All of the guards later admitted they suffered no injuries. How could they? They wore black body armor and helmets – what prisoners call “star wars” garb.

After some of the men filed grievances and civil suits, the DA replied with criminal charges, and on Nov. 10, 2014, the men were marched into Luzerne County Courthouse, in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., to face “riot” charges.

They were gassed, they were beaten, they were tasered and zapped with electro-shields – and they face riot charges!

It should be noted that this is the same county where judges took money to send kids to jail, where no one reported their monstrous actions – not even the DA! – for nearly a decade!

The Dallas 6 – Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelley, Carrington Keys, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters and Derrick Stanley – are potentially facing more prison time for refusing to submit to torture, for men have died, in America, while strapped into the torture chair.

Should they have meekly submitted to torture – like sheep to the slaughter?

For more information on the Dallas 6, go to scidallas6.blogspot.com.
Help the Dallas 6 stand for justice and human rights!

© Copyright 2014 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s latest book, “The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America,” co-authored by Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, available from Third World Press, TWPBooks.com. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. For recent interviews with Mumia, visit www.blockreportradio.com. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCIMahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.

Petition to Dismiss all charges against Dallas 5

MORE CORRUPTION FROM THE COUNTY WHERE KIDS FOR CASH SCANDAL TOOK PLACE
In April 2010, at SCI Dallas (PA), after a series of abuses at the hands of corrections officials, 6 prisoners housed in the solitary confinement unit decided they had enough and decided to stage a peaceful protest in response to the inhumane conditions and mistreatment of prisoners. Each prisoner involved in the protest is now collectively referred to as the Dallas 5.    
After enduring abuses, official misconduct and outright administrative corruption, these men decided it was time to do something about the inhumane conditions, immediately, before another prisoner died or is brutally harmed.  The guards were beating inmates and promised these men were next. 
These men who peacefully covered their cell doors and barricaded doors are being charged with riot.  All they did was ask for an outside official. They were protecting themselves from harm.   They committed no violent acts, yet violence was inflicted upon them by the guards in riot gear.  They were pepper sprayed, beaten and tased.  These men are in solitary confinement, which means they are in a single cell 24/7 with no contact.  They did not cause or create riot!  They had no ability to do so!  They are being charged with riot because they have lawsuits against the prison and guards.  Some of them are pro se lawyers who have gone against the DOC as their own attorney.  This is frowned upon and retaliated against on a massive level.  These same men contributed to the Human Rights Coalition report which detailed ongoing abuses and human rights violations within the dungeons of this state and especially at SCI Dallas. 
As revealed in the Human Rights Coalition report and before the House of Representatives, there has long been a policy within the prison walls of Dallas and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to operate a corrupt administration under an iron wall of silence.  Under this iron wall or code of silence, SCI Dallas, PA DOC, District Attorney’s Office, as well as the Pennsylvania State Police operates in participation and conjunction with one another to cover up crimes and misconduct by state offices by overlooking video footage of officers caught on video tape committing human rights violations.
 This case should be thrown out.  Besides the fact that charges are bogus here are some of the reasons it should be dismissed:
 • Discovered that one man was not arraigned and after more research that none of the men were arraigned in a timely manner.

• They have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars in housing, transportation and court costs bringing them back and forth across the state for their dog and pony show. The first time they brought them under heavy security with helicopters.
• They brought them to court illegally while the case was in the supreme court in September 2012 but when they guys spoke up that it was illegal they ended the hearing and removed the hearing from dockets like it never existed.

• The charges only carry a short sentence and are ordinarily handled through the prison disciplinary system.
•In 3 ½ years they have been before the court on at least 6 occasions and have not even had pre-trial because the prosecution continues to postpone due to their own errors.
•It is evident that if they had a case it would have been adjudicated long ago.
These men do not want sympathy; they want to do their time without being subjected to racism and violence by staff. These false charges should be dropped.  Mr. Peters who is still being tortured at SCI Dallas, should be moved out of there.  Taxpayer’s money is being wasted on a personal vendetta.  The crime here is what is really going on with in the bowels of our “justice and prison” system.  They should be on trial and not these men.
For more information and updates about the case please visit:
————————- 
Text of the petition:
To: Luzerne County DA Stephanie Salavantis, Luzerne County Court
Dismiss all charges against Dallas 5

The Dallas 5 are Andre Jacobs, Carrington Keys, Duane Peters, Anthony Locke and Derrick Stanley.

Besides the fact that it is a false and retaliatory complaint, there are many reasons for dismissal of charges. These are only a few:

• The county and DOC have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars in housing, transportation and court costs bringing them back and forth across the state for a personal vendetta
• Pre-trial has been delayed at least 6 times due to prosecution errors.
• It has take over 3 1/2 years to prosecute a 3rd class felony
• The men have endured well documented human rights abuses at SCI Dallas
• The only people injured during the incident were the prisoners
• They have a right to a speedy trial and this has been anything but a speedy trial
• Covering your window is a violation of DOC policy and should have been handled internally not through the courts
• Covering your window is not a riot!
Sincerely,
[Your name] 

Pennsylvania Prisoners Charged with Rioting After Protesting Conditions in Solitary

From SolitaryWatch:
October 15, 2011
by Sal Rodriguez

A group of inmates held in solitary confinement in a Pennsylvania prison have been charged with various felony offenses, including rioting and aggravated harassment, stemming from their participation in an April 2010 protest against prison abuses. The group, which has come to be known as the Dallas 6, covered the windows of their cell doors with bedding in protest of alleged harassment by correctional officers at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Dallas. Their protest was met with violent “cell extractions” against all six inmates. Officially, the covering of the cell windows constituted an act which coerced correctional officials to perform cell extractions, therefore making their actions rioting.

According to Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! investigator Bret Grote, there will be a hearing before Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nina Gartley on October 21st regarding a defense motion to consolidate the cases of four of the Dallas 6′s cases into a single case. The hearing involves Andre Jacobs, Carrington Keys, Derrick Stanley, and Duane Peters-El, four of the five members of the Dallas 6 who have yet to have their cases resolved. (Anthony Kelly accepted a plea bargain last year, and Anthony Locke will be tried separately). The four are currently held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Carrington Keys was set to go to trial on October 17th, but the trial has been postponed to a later, undetermined date.

The alleged abuses against inmates that inspired the protest are, according to some, reflective of a widespread problem in the Pennsylvania prison system. The most dramatic allegations surfaced last month, when a suspended prison guard from SCI Pittsburgh was arrested on charges that he sexually or physically assaulted more than 20 inmates. Earlier reports suggest less extreme, but nonetheless serious abuses at other prisons.

As of August 31, 2011 there were 51,393 inmates under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, in a system with a designed capacity of 44,190. Among them are over 1,500 inmates in isolation units—referred to as Restricted Housing Units. Restricted Housing Units are solitary confinement units where inmates are kept in their cells 23 hours a day during the week and 24 hours on the weekends.

For ten months between 2009 and 2010, the Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! worked on a report documenting abuses across Pennsylvania prisons, but most specifically at SCI Dallas. A medium security prison in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, SCI Dallas houses over 2,100 inmates, including over a hundred inmates in Disciplinary and Administrative Restricted Housing Units.

According to the 2010 report by the Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! “Institutionalized Cruelty: Torture at SCI Dallas and in Prisons Throughout Pennsylvania”, written with extensive cooperation of inmates, SCI Dallas was particularly rife with abuses. Among them, the “frequent usage of racist slurs, threats of violence, verbal and physical abuse by guards,” “ retaliation against prisoners exercising their constitutional rights to file grievances,” and “failure to provide adequate or at times any, physical or mental health care.”

One prisoner who corresponded with the HRC described his experience in the RHU at SCI Dallas:

“The conditions were very inhumane…hot, no working vents at all… stuffy and humid… My first cell bugs were biting me all over my body, when I said something about it they (medical staff) played like I was crazy then finally after constant complaining they gave me benadryl then moved me and still didn’t clean the cell. They had a light on all day that felt like a rotisserie lamp. It was hard to sleep because of the hot humid cells and constant bugs biting me all day and night… We had no cups to drink the brown colored water that came out of the sinks and toilets. There was constant screaming yelling kicking and banging…”

Read the rest here.

Life and Death in Pennsylvania’s Solitary Confinement Cells

September 7, 2010
James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
Matt Stroud has been doing excellent reporting on solitary confinement in the weekly Philadelphia City Paper. In August he published “A Death in Solitary.”

SolitaryWatch

When Matthew Bullock, a 32-year-old convicted killer, fashioned a noose from a bed sheet that he wasn’t supposed to have, secured it around his neck, tied it to thin steel bars in the face-high window of his solitary confinement cell, then sat down hard in an effort to break his neck and suffocate himself, it wasn’t the first time he’d attempted suicide. In fact, according to a civil lawsuit filed in November 2009 by Bullock’s parents against officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and officials and state-contracted health care providers at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas) — where Bullock’s lifeless body was found hanging on Aug. 24, 2009 — Bullock, who had a long history of mental illness, psychotic episodes and auditory hallucinations, had tried to kill himself at least 20 documented times in the decade before his 2003 incarceration, and several more times since.

Autopsy photos taken after Bullock’s suicide showed that his forearms were covered from wrist to bicep with scars, apparently self-inflicted by razors and knives. One scar on his right inner wrist appeared to be recent, with scabs only superficially formed. The scars were both horizontal and vertical. Veins were crossed and traced while cuts intersected and mingled. The number of suicidal cuts in both arms was too high to count.

(photo: Matthew Bullock’s cell following his suicide)

Yet Richard Elders, DOC’s director of the Bureau of Health Care Services, wrote in a Sept. 2 report obtained by Bullock’s parents’ attorneys: “Offender Bullock did not give any indications that he was going to harm himself. … There was no indication noted by staff members who regularly interacted with Offender Bullock that he was depressed and would take his own life.”

Bullock’s parents say that’s simply not true. In their lawsuit, they claim that not only had Bullock tried to kill himself while in custody on multiple occasions, but their son also had repeatedly told SCI Dallas’ corrections officers (COs) about his suicidal inclinations. The COs didn’t ignore him, according to the lawsuit and written statements provided by fellow inmates: They taunted him — and actually encouraged him to take his own life.

When he told COs of his suicidal tendencies, the lawsuit continues, prison officials moved him from a solitary cell that was within view of an observation camera to one that wasn’t. Then, the lawsuit alleges, someone slipped him “instrumentalities which are commonly used to commit or attempt suicide” — a bed sheet, which suicidal inmates in “the hole” are not supposed to have — and COs “incited [Bullock] to ‘kill himself.’”

After that, family attorney Shelley Centini says, Bullock was left alone for hours, though DOC policy mandates that inmates in solitary be checked on every 30 minutes.

During that time, Matthew Bullock made good on his death wish.

The long piece is worth reading in full–among other things, for its depiction of the toturous conditions in the RHU (Restricted Housing Unit). Much of the testimony from prisoners in solitary comes from Institutionalized Cruelty, a recent report from the Human Rights Coalition/Fed up! in Pittsburgh.

As Stroud reported last week, the state of Pennsylvania insists that solitary confinement simply does not exist in its prisons–even though one man has now spent 37 years in isolation.

In Pennsylvania, the phrase itself is controversial. Last month, in testimony before the state House Judiciary Committee, Michael D. Klopotoski, deputy secretary of the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) Eastern Region, said no prisoners in this state — not even one — can be classified as serving time in “solitary confinement.” Susan McNaughton, a DOC press secretary, clarified his semantic stance via e-mail last week: “Solitary confinement is considered where an individual has no contact with other individuals. This is just not the case [in Pennsylvania].”…

In DOC’s view, even the vilest Pennsylvania inmate in state prisons’ restricted housing units (RHUs) has contact with prison staff and is granted brief outdoor recreation time, where, according to McNaughton, “they may have non-contact interaction with others, including other inmates in the individual exercise pens. … So, that is why we don’t consider it to be ‘solitary confinement.’ They are housed in our restricted housing units, which are maximum security units within our prisons.”

Please read: Resistance and Retaliation: Continuing Repression at SCI Dallas, by the Human Rights Coalition/FedUp! (August 2010)