MEDIA RELEASE: As Department of Corrections refuses to release information about prisoner health, human rights groups, LaBelle residents launch health survey of their own
February 10, 2015 – The Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) and the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) have launched a comprehensive health survey of prisoners at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Fayette. The prison sits next to a 500-acre coal ash dump operated…
Jail workers, human rights advocates, community groups, and inmates’ family members seek an end to appalling health care at ACJ
MEDIA RELEASE: State Office of Open Records orders PA Department of Corrections to release prisoner and staff health record at SCI Fayette
Legal victory for journalists’ investigation into prison surrounded by toxic coal ash dump December 16, 2014 – The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has ordered the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to produce documents pertaining to prisoner health at the…
Action Alert – Demand transfer and medical treatment for prisoner locked up next to toxic coal ash dump
Nick has been locked up at SCI Fayette since 2008. Last year, he began to experience a number of debilitating health problems. He writes, “One day I woke up and it was difficult for me to walk and see… I started getting dizzy and I couldn’t keep my balance and I started getting a numbing feeling in the left side of my body.” He quickly developed more symptoms: tingling sensations and muscle spasm, loss of mechanical function in his arms and legs, memory loss, hair falling out, and extreme weight loss.
September 2, 2014: Pittsburgh, PA – Abolitionist Law Center and the Human Rights Coalition have released a report entitled, No Escape: Exposure to Toxic Coal Waste at State Correctional Institution Fayette, based on a year-long investigation into the health impacts of exposure to coal waste at the state prison in Fayette County, PA. The report reveals alarming rates of illnesses consistent with exposure to coal ash, a toxic byproduct of burning coal in power plants.
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.
In the August 31, 2013 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Department of Environmental Protection published a Notice of Intent to Issue Operating Permit 26-00057 for the Matt Canestrale Contracting, Inc. Labelle Site. This permit covers a barge unloading and transferring operation associated with a reclamation area in Luzerne Township, Fayette County. At this site, coal ash and FGD sludge are used as capping material on a coal refuse pile. In accordance with 25 Pa Code §§ 127.426 and 127.428, the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) herein files a timely protest and request for public hearing within 30 days of the publication of the Notice of Intent to Issue the Operating Permit