University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name CRIPA investigation of Cresson and Penn. DOC (solitary confinement) PC-PA-0038
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On November 30, 2011, the Department of Justice opened this investigation into conditions of confinement at the State Correctional Institution in Cresson, Pennsylvania, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. On May 31, 2013, the DOJ issued findings, concluding that the ... read more >
On November 30, 2011, the Department of Justice opened this investigation into conditions of confinement at the State Correctional Institution in Cresson, Pennsylvania, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. On May 31, 2013, the DOJ issued findings, concluding that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' (PDOC) use of long-term and extreme forms of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental illness at Cresson, many of whom also have intellectual disabilities, violated their rights under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The DOJ then expanded the investigation statewide, focusing on similar issues. On February 24, 2014, the DOJ issued findings concluding that PDOC was violating the rights of prisoners under the Eighth Amendment and the ADA statewide across Pennsylvania's 26 prisons.

On April 14, 2016, the DOJ announced the close of its investigation into the PDOC following significant improvements made by PDOC to its policies and practices that were intended to protect prisoners with serious mental illness and intellectual disabilities from the harmful effects of solitary confinement. PDOC had worked to ensure that prisoners with serious mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities were no longer subjected to solitary confinement and were instead provided with specialized treatment to meet their individualized needs.

Jessica Kincaid - 04/22/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Conditions of confinement
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, to enforce the rights of prisoners with disabilities in Pennsylvania.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Voluntary Reforms
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Date: Jun. 4, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
DOJ Investigation Announcement Notice
PC-PA-0038-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/01/2011
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Re: Investigation of the State Correctional Institution at Cresson and Notice of Expanded Investigation
PC-PA-0038-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/31/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Re: Investigation of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' Use of Solitary Confinement on Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness and/or Intellectual Disabilities
PC-PA-0038-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 02/24/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Re: Investigation of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' Use of Solitary Confinement on Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness and/or Intellectual Disabilities
PC-PA-0038-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/14/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0038-0003
Hickton, David J. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0038-0002 | PC-PA-0038-0003 | PC-PA-0038-0004
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0038-0004
Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0038-0002

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