This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Pennsylvania Sued For Cruel And Unusual Punishment Of Prisoners With Mental Illness

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the unconstitutional treatment of prisoners with serious mental illness in solitary confinement, known as Restricted Housing Units, in state correctional institutions.


The network, designated under federal law to protect the rights of people with disabilities, said the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections confines about 800 men and women with mental illnesses in horrific conditions with inadequate mental health treatment.  The lawsuit alleges that the department is aware that such confinement exacerbates their mental illness, but does not adequately take their mental health into account before disciplining them by placing them in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.  The lawsuit alleges the state's mistreatment of these prisoners, who make up about 33 percent of the total RHU population, violates their rights under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Prisoners in RHUs are locked down at least 23 hours a day in cells as small as 80 square feet, and have only the most minimal contact with other human beings.  They receive mental health counseling through their food slot or the crack between the side of their cell door and frame.  Despite knowing the psychological pain that such isolation inflicts on prisoners with mental illness, the state fails to provide them with adequate mental health services.

Robert W. Meek, attorney for DRN, said, "This is a vile and inhumane way to treat people with mental illness.  As one judge put it, solitary confinement for a person with mental illness is like an airless room for an asthmatic.  Pennsylvania should give these prisoners beds in units designed to help people with mental illness, not devastate them."

DRN is represented in this lawsuit by its own legal staff; Covington & Burling LLP; Kairys, Rudovsky, Feinberg, and Messing LLP; the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project; and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.  The case, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania v. Wetzel, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

More information, including a copy of the complaint, can be found at:

Contacts: Robert W. Meek, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania,, (215) 238-8070 ext. 206 David L. Kornblau, Covington & Burling, (212) 841-1084 Sara Mullen, ACLU of Pennsylvania,, (215) 592-1513 ext.122

SOURCE Covington & Burling

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,802.82 +24.67 0.14%
S&P 500 2,068.71 +7.48 0.36%
NASDAQ 4,757.7510 +9.3550 0.20%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs