Pennsylvania to Release 136 Individuals with the Death Penalty Sentence from Solitary Confinement
Date:  11-19-2019

Recognizing that solitary confinement is tantamount to torture, the DOC will also provide resocialization assistance and physical and mental health evaluations
From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

After nearly two decades in death row solitary confinement in a Pennsylvania state prison, Jimmy Dennis could no longer endure the humiliation of being strip-searched and shackled to move between the cage of his 8-by-12-foot cell, the cage of a work station in the law library, the cage of the small, fenced-in exercise yard, and the cage of a stall in the secure visiting room, where his daughter would cry when she saw him in handcuffs and chains on the other side of a glass barrier. “I went for years with no shower, no library, no nothing,” said Dennis, who was released from prison in 2017 after a federal judge found that he was wrongly convicted of killing a teenage girl for her gold earrings in 1992 because prosecutors withheld key evidence. But he still has not recovered from the trauma. “It’s like chipping away at your soul on so many different levels, and you feel like you’re literally suffocating in your own skin.”

On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections agreed to sweeping changes that will allow the 136 people sentenced to death to enjoy many of the same rights as those in the general population: to be out of their cells 42.5 hours a week or more, to use the phone at least 15 minutes each day, and to have contact visits with family who have, in many cases, not hugged their loved ones in decades. Continue reading >>>