Pennsylvania Solitary Unit Pushes People to Suicide, Lawsuit Alleges

The Appeal, 10/03/23: “Within months of entering the Security Threat Group Management Unit at SCI Fayette, one man says he smeared, “Kill me, I’m ready to go,” on the cell in his own blood.

When T. Montana Bell arrived at SCI Fayette, a Pennsylvania state prison, he says he stepped off the bus and announced that he was going to kill himself. And, according to a legal complaint filed Friday in federal court, a prison official told him to do it.

According to the lawsuit—filed by multiple civil rights groups against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and others—Bell says he attempted suicide several times that night.

Although DOC had identified Bell as a person with a mental illness, officials transferred him in November 2021 to an indefinite solitary confinement unit at SCI Fayette called the Security Threat Group Management Unit (STGMU). The suit states Bell had previously been told that he’d been recommended for a unit where he would receive counseling. Instead, he was locked up alone.

During his almost two years in the STGMU, Bell says he attempted suicide at least ten times.”

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