MEDIA RELEASE: Trial ordered in challenge to 22 years of solitary confinement in Shoatz v. Wetzel

MEDIA RELEASE: Trial ordered in challenge to 22 years of solitary confinement in Shoatz v. Wetzel

February 22, 2016: Pittsburgh PA — On Friday, February 12, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying both parties’ motions for summary judgment and ordering a trial in the case…

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

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.”

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.

Institutionalized Cruelty: The Use of Solitary Confinement in Pennsylvania Prisons (Video)

Institutionalized Cruelty: The Use of Solitary Confinement in Pennsylvania Prisons (Video)

Institutionalized Cruelty, a film by James Tedrow, discusses the abuse of solitary confinement in the Pennsylvania prison system, as documented by Human Rights Coalition investigations. The film includes video of the cell extraction of Carrington Keyes, a member of the…