Pa. House holds hearing on indefinite solitary confinement, as lawsuit calls for prisons in commonwealth to end practice

WFMZ-TV 69 News, 03/05/24: “The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee held an informational hearing Tuesday on legislation regarding indefinite solitary confinement of the state’s inmates.

The hearing comes as a lawsuit calls for prisons in the commonwealth to end the practice.

Six people incarcerated at prisons throughout Pennsylvania filed a federal class action lawsuit Monday, seeking to end indefinite use of the practice. They argue that solitary confinement worsens mental health and violates constitutional rights.

Lawyers for the six plaintiffs say it is the first case of its kind to challenge indefinite solitary confinement and the use of solitary confinement for anyone with a mental health diagnosis. Advocate Robert Holbrook read a statement filed by one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

‘We filed this lawsuit because we are suffering immensely and believe no one should experience this. This is torture in its highest form,’ read Holbrook.

Holbrook told his own story of spending 10 years of a 27-year sentence in solitary. He was released in 2018.

‘They are locked down in extremely small cells at least 22 hours a day, and have no contact with other inmates, except when they are taken outside for one hour in small yard cages,’ said Holbrook.”

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