Class action lawsuit filed to stop indefinite solitary confinement in Pa.

WTAJ, 03/04/24: “A class action lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania that looks to end the “unlawful use” of solitary confinement in the Pa. Department of Corrections (DOC).

The federal lawsuit, filed on Monday, March 3, was brought against the DOC and alleged that all prisons hold incarcerated individuals in long-term, often indefinite, solitary confinement. The solitary confinement units are classified as Security Level 5 units (SL5) units and include, but are not limited to, the Intensive Management Unit (IMU) and the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU).

According to the lawsuit, individuals incarcerated in solitary confinement in the DOC are locked in ‘extremely small cells for as many as 21 to 24 hours every day’and ‘denied necessary social, environmental and occupational simulation.’

When individuals are in prolonged isolation, especially those with mental illness, sleeplessness, hopelessness, paranoia, consuming foreign objects, eating and covering themselves in feces, head banging, self-harm injury and suicide attempts are exacerbated.”

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