Parents of Brandon Palakovic sue prison officials for death of their son in solitary confinement

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.” Continue reading Parents of Brandon Palakovic sue prison officials for death of their son in solitary confinement

Statement from the Palakovic Family

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. Continue reading Statement from the Palakovic Family

Court Rules Human Rights Coalition’s Censorship Suit Can Go Forward

Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss and Grants Motion to Amend Complaint in Human Rights Coalition’s Censorship Lawsuit A challenge to prison censorship of political and human rights literature in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has seen two favorable Continue reading Court Rules Human Rights Coalition’s Censorship Suit Can Go Forward

Law and Disorder Radio Program on Release of Russell Maroon Shoatz from Solitary Confinement

ALC Attorney, Bret Grote, was recently interviewed on Law and Disorder Radio about the release of Russell Maroon Shoatz after 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. More from the producers of Law and Disorder Radio: Here on Law and Disorder Continue reading Law and Disorder Radio Program on Release of Russell Maroon Shoatz from Solitary Confinement

MEDIA RELEASE: Russell Maroon Shoatz released from solitary confinement – first time in general population in more than 22 years

February 20, 2014: Pittsburgh PA —  Russell Maroon Shoatz was released from solitary confinement into the general prison population at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford this morning, ending more than 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. The news was confirmed Continue reading MEDIA RELEASE: Russell Maroon Shoatz released from solitary confinement – first time in general population in more than 22 years

Who is Robert Saleem Holbrook and Why Should We Care?

by Doran Larson In 1841, George Thompson, an American abolitionist held in a Missouri jail with his comrades for attempting to accompany slaves into freedom, wrote, “In my journal, I recorded for all.” Every writer in prison does as much. Continue reading Who is Robert Saleem Holbrook and Why Should We Care?

JURIST Podcast Interviews ALC on First and Eighth Amendment Rights in the Prisons

. Representatives from the Abolitionist Law Center joined JURIST podcast moderator Ian Everhart to discuss their efforts at reform in the Pennsylvania criminal justice and prison system in this episode. ALC Executive Director Bret Grote and ALC staff attorney Dustin Continue reading JURIST Podcast Interviews ALC on First and Eighth Amendment Rights in the Prisons

Federal court rules litigation can proceed in Shoatz v. Wetzel

MEDIA RELEASE: Federal court rules litigation can proceed in Shoatz v. Wetzel Defendants’ motion to dismiss denied on all counts January 27, 2014: Pittsburgh PA —  On Monday, January 27, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Continue reading Federal court rules litigation can proceed in Shoatz v. Wetzel

Voices from the Inside: Co-Editor of The Movement on Holbrook v. Jellen (Audio)

January 16, 2014: SCI Rockview – A statement about Holbrook v. Jellen by Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall was recently recorded by  Noelle Hanrahan and posted at Prison Radio. Shakaboona is a wrongly convicted prisoner with a juvenile life sentence, who has been Continue reading Voices from the Inside: Co-Editor of The Movement on Holbrook v. Jellen (Audio)

Abolitionist Law Center files suit against PA prison officials on behalf of Robert Saleem Holbrook, Human Rights Coalition, and Professor Kristi Brian

MEDIA RELEASE: Human Rights Coalition sues prison officials for censoring political dissent and human rights advocacy January 9, 2014: Philadelphia, PA — The Human Rights Coalition (HRC), politicized prisoner Robert Saleem Holbrook, and College of Charleston Professor Kristi Brian brought Continue reading Abolitionist Law Center files suit against PA prison officials on behalf of Robert Saleem Holbrook, Human Rights Coalition, and Professor Kristi Brian