Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomenortheastPennsylvania inmates sue over 'torturous' solitary confinement conditions

Pennsylvania inmates sue over ‘torturous’ solitary confinement conditions

Solitary confinement conditions in a Pennsylvania state prison are unconstitutional, worsening and creating mental illness in those held there, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of five inmates who say they have spent long periods in “torturous conditions.”

With limited mental health resources, some of the plaintiffs inside the Department of Corrections’ State Correctional Institution at Fayette have attempted suicide, flooded their cells with dirty toilet water, punched walls and written in their own blood, their lawyers said.

The lawsuit accuses prison officials of placing inmates into confinement based on secret evidence, leaving them unable to challenge their placement. Those practices violate the constitutional rights of those incarcerated to due process and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, their lawyers said.

“No one should be forced to endure these conditions,” said Alexandra Morgan-Kurtz, deputy director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, which is one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs. “It is time for the DOC to eliminate practices long recognized as inhumane and unconstitutional, including the unlawful placement of disabled individuals in circumstances that cause life-threatening harm.”

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