At the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC), any sentence is a death sentence in the COVID-19 conundrum. COVID-free for 7-8 months, State Correctional Institute Frackville opened gates wide for intake of COVID-positive-tested prisoners and, federal funding. The only medical remedy? – drink water – verified contaminated water.
I am a 19-year-old Black male from Pittsburg, Penn. This is my first time being in a state prison. I was shot by a white male police officer in the leg and hip. I was falsely accused of a crime when I was minding my own business. I’ve been in prison a few months now for a two-year term. I was sent to the only jail in the state that specifically holds juveniles, called SCI Pine Grove. SCI Pine Grove is where they brainwash and dehumanize mainly Black children.
Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”
I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face. Now I’ve been on my hunger strike since June 11, 2014, and the reason for my hunger strike is policies being overlooked, harassment from COs, very poor calories on daily trays, refusal of proper medical treatment and denial of the equal protection of the laws and due process.
According to multiple witness accounts, staff at Pennsylvania’s SCI Rockview killed John Carter, a 32-year-old man from Pittsburgh, during a cell extraction in the prison’s solitary confinement unit on April 26, 2012. One witness, esteemed writer André Jacobs, reports: "The murder was in retaliation for Carter protesting what began as guards denying him his dinner meal. ... During the collection of our food tray, guard Sherman said to me, “Your buddy’s going down tonight,” while smiling."