Essential Pittsburgh
4:26 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Federal Investigation of State Prison's Treatment of Inmates with Mental Illness

 

  

How many PA prisons have been holding mentally prisoners in solitary confinement?
Credit Jenn Vargas / Flickr

The US Department of Justice released a report last Friday stating that a Pennsylvania State prison violated the civil rights of inmates with serious mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities.

The investigators found that the Cambria County prison they investigated placed mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time as a way of "warehousing" them.

The percentage of prisoners on the state's mental health roster has increased by more than 50 percent, since 1999, accounting for more than 20 percent of all inmates in the PA prison system.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Reporter Karen Langley wrote about the investigation over the weekend and Vic Walczak, PA Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit on behalf of prisoners in the Cambria County prison. They give us the details of the investigation.