By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Link to Post-Gazette article HERE Brandon Palakovic was witty and personable. He was smart, didn’t like to complain and made people laugh. But, he also had trouble following rules — even from a young age… But, what happened to her son at State Correctional Institution Cresson — where Brandon was forced to spend weeks at a time in solitary confinement — she continued, is appalling. “He was trapped, and there was nothing he could do to get out of it,” she said from her home now in Spring Hill, Tenn. “It was horrible. I wouldn’t treat an animal like that.”
July 8, 2014: Pittsburgh, PA – A lawsuit filed in federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania today claims that Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel and other officials in charge of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cresson “created and sustained conditions of solitary confinement that subjected Brandon Palakovic to torture, causing him to take his own life on July 17, 2012, at the age of 23. Defendants transformed [Brandon’s] 16-48 month term of imprisonment into a death sentence.”
Nearly two years ago now, our son, Brandon Michael Palakovic, was pronounced dead in a hospital in Altoona after hanging himself with his bed sheet while in solitary confinement (RHU) at Cresson State Correctional Institution. His last moments on earth were of such torment and misery that he felt the only escape was death. As his parents, we have found it hard to conceive of death being his only way out. So we have spent the last two years trying to heal, understand his final decision and memorialize Brandon for the person that he was, not the animal that we have come to find out he was treated like.