On May 12, 2016, an inmate who had been in solitary confinement since 1979 filed this lawsuit in the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff, represented by the Abolitionist Law Center and private counsel, sued under [cause of action] for violations of the Eighth ...
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On May 12, 2016, an inmate who had been in solitary confinement since 1979 filed this lawsuit in the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff, represented by the Abolitionist Law Center and private counsel, sued under [cause of action] for violations of the Eighth Amendment and the procedural and substantive components of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The complaint alleged that “confinement in small cells for approximately 23 hours a day for more than three decades has harmed his mental and physical health, resulting in permanent damage,” including “increasing feelings of anxiety, frustration, loneliness, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and depression.”
The plaintiff also submitted an expert report with his lawsuit from psychologist Dr. Craig Haney, one of the leading psychologists and scholars of the harms of solitary confinement. Dr. Haney’s report states that the plainitff has been subjected to a “social death” due to his having “been kept in solitary confinement for an extraordinary amount of time—an amount that greatly exceed any of the limits recommended or countenanced by any legal, mental health, or human rights organization of which I am aware.”
The plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction in the form of a court order mandating a “step-down” process to end his long-term solitary confinement On May 12, 2016.
The plaintiff moved to compel discovery on July 13, 2016. On August 5, 2016, Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner granted, but deferred portions of the plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery. On August 10, 2016, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery on the portions that were deferred.
On September 20, 2016, Judge Conner granted the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and directed the parties to develop a “step-down” program for the plaintiff’s reintegration into the general population. On September 30, 2016, the parties provided a joint step-down program for the plaintiff. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer
, the program includes time out of cell and social interactions, progressive increase in social interaction and mental health monitoring and treatment.
The case is ongoing. Susie Choi - 02/02/2017