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

Family filing suit over son’s suicide while isolated in SCI Cresson

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.” Continue reading Family filing suit over son’s suicide while isolated in SCI Cresson

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

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

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

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

Panel Discussion: Solitary Confinement and Political Prisoners (Video)

National Lawyers Guild – Solitary Confinement and Political Prisoners: The Use of Prison Isolation in Policing Radical Politics. San Juan, Puerto Rico. October 25, 2013. Moderator: Bret Grote (Executive Director of the Abolitionist Law Center) Panelists: Jihad Abdulmumit (Co-chairperson of Continue reading Panel Discussion: Solitary Confinement and Political Prisoners (Video)

Pennsylvania solitary confinement inmates charged with rioting due in court

By Daniel Arkin, NBC News   A group of Pennsylvania prison inmates who claim they were savagely beaten and abused by guards while held in solitary confinement three years ago are due in court Monday on charges that they sparked Continue reading Pennsylvania solitary confinement inmates charged with rioting due in court

National Lawyers Guild Panel on Political Prisoners & Solitary Confinement

SAN JUAN, Oct 25 2013 – The struggle against the torture of solitary confinement is an urgent necessity in building liberation movements in North America.  That was the message conveyed to attendees of a major panel on political prisoners and Continue reading National Lawyers Guild Panel on Political Prisoners & Solitary Confinement