Abuse Reports

Documentation of torture and other human rights violations in Pennsylvania State Prisons. 
Amanda at the Abolish Solitary Rally in Philly 9/ 2012
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections claims that the recent arrest of one guard at the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh sends "a strong message to everyone that the Department of Corrections does not tolerate violence in its prisons."

Over the past four years HRC has documented thousands of reports of human rights violations perpetrated by government employees and officials within the PA DOC against people entrusted to their care. 

The following reports were from the end of 2011. HRC - FedUp! has been documenting abuse in prisons since 2005  The reports are mostly gathered from the words of people in prison and also from their loved ones

 The following links open documents:

SCI CampHill - Overview of Human Rights Violation Abuse Incidents
SCI Cresson - Overview of Human Rights Violation - List of Abuse Incidents
SCI Dallas - Overview of Human Rights Violation - List of Abuse Incidents
SCI Fayette - Overview of Human Rights Violation Abuse Incidents
SCI Forest - Overview of Human Rights Violation - List of Abuse Incidents
SCI Greene - Overview of Human Rights Violation - List of Abuse Incidents
SCI Huntingdon - Overview of Human Rights Violation - Abuse Incidents

Here you can Download Copies of our Older Abuse Reports including ones from Virgina http://www.scribd.com/HRCFedUp

You must login with your facebook account or create a scribd account to read the files. Creating a scribd account is quick and free if you do not have a facebook account. In case it asks you for money, you should still be able to read the reports online.

Below Letter From FedUp! about abuse at Dallas

September 15, 2009

To respective government and DOC officials, 
Just last month Matthew Bullock committed suicide in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI  (State Correctional Institution) Dallas, reportedly in response to the conditions detailed herein and at the encouragement of guards.  We are confident that any transparent and legitimate investigation into Mr. Bullock’s death and the conditions of confinement in the RHU at SCI Dallas will reveal that this death was more than a tragedy: it was a crime, and a preventable one at that. 
After certain prisoners at SCI Dallas learned of the existence of an organization dedicated to protecting their human rights we began receiving a steady stream of reports detailing cruel, degrading, inhumane, and illegal conditions of confinement, particularly in the solitary confinement unit (RHU), where prisoners, most of them black and Latino men, are locked in a cell the size of a small bathroom for 23 or 24 hours a day, subjected to 24-hour lighting, deprived of educative or rehabilitative programs, and isolated from the outside world.  International human rights groups and the United Nations uniformly condemn solitary confinement as torture and consequently as an illegal technique under international law.  From Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay to SCIs Camp Hill, Fayette, Greene, and others in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC), such conditions prove to be fertile soil for a level of cruelty shocking to the conscience of humankind.  We thus decided to launch a focused investigation regarding human rights violations at SCI Dallas in early June. 
Our preliminary findings are detailed in the attached abuse logs, which are only a brief summary of reports of human rights violations at SCI Dallas culled from several hundred pages of prisoner reports, institutional documents, civil actions, affidavits, and criminal complaints.  More reports come in the mail and over the phone every day.  Although it is beyond our capability to assess specific claims with an absolute degree of certainty, the broad patterns of violations documented herein possess a definitive and compelling credibility based on the consistency of these reports; their similarity to hundreds upon hundreds of other prisoner reports from throughout the PA DOC; the considerable documentation collected in support of the claims in a brief period of time; and the posture of official denial, evasion, and secrecy at every level of the PA DOC’s chain of command. 
Some of the more pervasive and serious patterns of human rights violations reported are as follows: 
frequent usage of racist slurs, threats of violence, verbal and physical abuse by guards; retaliation against prisoners exercising their constitutional rights to file grievances, criminal complaints, and civil suits regarding conditions of confinement and guard misconduct/crimes.  This practice commonly takes the form of the issuance of fabricated misconducts and subsequent placement in solitary confinement, as well as the seizure and destruction of legal property;
failure to provide adequate, or at times any, physical or mental health care;
brown drinking and bathing water, filthy cells, exposure to infectious diseases, and generally substandard environmental conditions;
encouragement of prisoner-on-prisoner violence, including incitement to murder and sexual violence; incitement to and encouragement of suicide;
a defective inmate grievance system that is systematically biased against prisoner claims of staff misconduct and substandard conditions, commonly refusing prisoners to present witnesses or security camera evidence in support of their claims, and thus violating their right to due process. This practice conforms to inmate grievance procedures throughout the PA DOC (see enclosed official inmate grievance statistics, wherein less than 2% of prisoner grievances were upheld between January 2008 and May 31);
We are submitting these preliminary findings to Governor Edward Rendell, Attorney General Tom Corbett, PA DOC Secretary Jeffrey Beard, PA DOC Office of Professional Responsibility Director James Barnacle, and SCI Dallas Superintendent Michael Klopotoski along with an attendant request for accountability, equality, and transparency in the administration of justice and enforcement of the law.  A crime is still a crime, whether or not it is perpetrated by employees or officials of the government. 
Along these lines we are requesting that the Governor and the Attorney General compel the Pennsylvania State Police to carry out an investigation that will adhere to principles of transparency and accountability by: 
Conducting a comprehensive investigation into each and every incident described herein;
Interviewing all parties named herein—both prisoners and DOC personnel—along with additional witnesses discovered in the course of investigation.  These interviews should be extensive, provide the basis for reviewing the documentary and security camera record, and seek as much detail about general patterns and practices as possible;
Obtaining signed witness statements and audio recordings from those willing to cooperate with either mode of evidence-gathering;
Reviewing all security camera footage relevant to the claims herein and permitting prisoners to view this evidence;
Releasing the contents of the investigation, including dispositions for each incident herein and others uncovered during the process, witness statements, audio transcripts, and security camera footage into the public domain;
Providing for the safety of prisoner victims and witnesses to be free of retaliation by securing necessary transfers, suspension of staff alleged to be serial abusers pending investigation results, and rotating guards as appropriate;
Bringing the full range of applicable criminal charges against all PA DOC employees and officials in each and every instance that the evidence collected mandates such, no matter that individual’s position in the Department.
As an initial step in this process and an expression of good faith and willingness to comply with the rule of law we are requesting that Secretary Beard, Director Barnacle, and DOC Chief Counsel Suzanne Hueston sign a document authorizing the state police to conduct an investigation according to the stipulations laid out above.  Failure to do such within two weeks of receipt of this letter will be understood as an act of bad faith.  If such an unfortunate reality comes to pass we will be forced to relay this matter to the U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Justice in a formal criminal complaint.   
In closing, this letter and the enclosed documentation serves as the deliberate delivery of constructive notice regarding human rights violations at SCI Dallas and throughout Pennsylvania’s DOC as a whole.  Failure to act in a swift, decisive, and effective manner to remedy the severe and complex human rights crisis inside SCI Dallas in particular and the PA DOC in general can only be understood to constitute deliberate indifference.   
Please do not let this come to pass.  Everybody in Pennsylvania is harmed by a defective and abusive justice system; everybody serves to benefit from remedying the situation.

Respectfully Submitted
By HRC/Fed Up!