January 27, 2014: Pittsburgh PA — On Monday, January 27, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying defendants’ motion to dismiss in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel. The ruling allows Russell Maroon Shoatz to move forward with the legal challenge to his more than 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement.
Shoatz brought suit in May 2013 on the grounds that he has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that prison officials have deprived him of his procedural and substantive due process rights for keeping him in solitary confinement without meaningful review and on insufficient grounds. ...read more
January 9, 2014: Philadelphia, PA — The Human Rights Coalition (HRC), politicized prisoner Robert Saleem Holbrook, and College of Charleston Professor Kristi Brian brought a lawsuit yesterday against several employees of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Coal Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) for confiscation of mail sent to Holbrook, a co-founder of HRC currently held at SCI Coal Township.
“Today HRC is going on the offensive to fight back against prison censorship,” editor of The Movement and HRC-Philadelphia activist Patricia Vickers stated. “It is long overdue that prison officials are held to account for their attempts to silence those who speak out against this abusive system. The rights, health, and lives of our loved ones are at stake.”
The suit, Holbrook et al. v. Jellen et al., filed by the Abolitionist Law Center, details a series of confiscations of Holbrook’s mail since January 2012 that includes academic correspondence with a college professor and issues of The Movement, essays written by Angela Y. Davis and James Baldwin, a newsletter published by HRC which focuses on prison abuse, solitary confinement, and ways that prisoners’ family members can come together to challenge human rights abuses and injustice in the criminal legal system. (read more)
Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson is an innocent man. But he has spent most of the past 18 years serving a sentence of life without parole. In January 2012, Johnson was released from state prison on bond while the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office appealed the overturning of his conviction by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. After spending 16 years in prison, Johnson was free for five months before the U.S.
Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
September 4, 2013 Update/Action Alert
In this edition: FCC reduces prison phone rates, Noble Laureates endorse Maroon Shoatz Campaign, Lawsuit challenges hepatitis C treatment and more…
PA DOC Secretary Wetzel set to make final decision on releasing Maroon from solitary confinement--
CALL NOW to DEMAND an end to Maroon's decades of torture and his immediate release to general population!
On July 3, long-term Black Panther political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz was informed by prison officials at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Mahanoy that the prison has formally recommended that PA Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel authorize Maroon's release from solitary confinement. Only 90 days after his transfer to a lower-security prison, and two months after a federal lawsuit was filed on Maroon's behalf, Secretary Wetzel is reportedly set to make the final decision soon as to whether Maroon’s twenty-two consecutive years in solitary confinement are to come to an end. ..act now