- Posted October 9, 2013 by
Pennsylvania Prisoners Still Being Prosecuted For Non-Violent Protest against Human Rights Abuses
Although former Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, judges Ciavarella and Conahan now sit in prison for the Kids-For-Cash-Scandal, the corruption which allowed and encouraged their outrageous crimes continues to exist. Currently the corruption which freely operates within the Luzerne County Courthouse is demonstrated by the malicious prosecution of inmates who were tortured by corrections officers at SCI Dallas. The inmates reported the abuse and beatings to which they were subjected, and filed a complaint. In retaliation, the Luzerne County District Attorney Office is prosecuting them on false charges of riot.
In April 2010, at SCI Dallas (PA), after a series of abuses at the hands of corrections officials, 6 prisoners housed in the solitary confinement unit decided they had enough and decided to stage a non-violent protest in response to the inhumane conditions and mistreatment of prisoners. Each prisoner involved in the protest is now collectively referred to as the Dallas 5 (one has since plead and released because he maxed out). These men are Andre Jacobs, Carrington Keys, Duane Peters, Anthony Locke and Derrick Stanley. After enduring abuses, official misconduct and administrative corruption, these men decided it was time to do something about the inhumane conditions, immediately, before another prisoner died or was brutally harmed. The guards were beating prisoners and promised these men were next.
Knowing harm was inevitable, they covered their cell windows and barricaded their doors, then “peacefully” asked to speak with outside officials. Instead of receiving this mediation by an outside official, guards attacked the Dallas 5 with pepper spray, Tasers, and their fists, then all but one (Duane Peters) were emergency evacuated to other prisons. To this day, Mr. Peters is still being tortured at SCI Dallas. For peacefully demonstrating for an end to human rights abuses, these men suffered retaliation and criminal charges. The men filed complaints about the abuse and Mr. Keys also filed a civil suit against SCI Dallas and Jackie Musto Carroll, who was then DA. Musto Carroll had received complaints but never investigated. Approximately 3 months later on July 6, 2010, in retaliation, the DOC and Jackie Musto Carroll filed bogus riot charges against these men. 3 ½ years later they are now facing trial for the bogus complaint.
What they did was ask for an outside official. They were protecting themselves from harm by barricading themselves in. These men were in solitary confinement, which means they are in a single cell 24/7 with no human contact. They did not cause or create a riot! They had no ability to do so! Covering your window is a DOC policy violation, not a crime. Covering your window is not a riot. These men committed no violent acts, but violence was the outcome of their peaceful act of resistance and self-preservation. Prisoners who stand up for human rights inside the PA DOC are routinely retaliated against, and this is exactly what is happening in this case. The Dallas 5 have a reputation as men who file grievances and lawsuits challenging human rights violations inside PA prisons. These same men contributed to the Human Rights Coalition report that detailed ongoing abuses and human rights violations within the solitary confinement units of this state, especially at SCI Dallas.
The Luzerne County District Attorney's office is supposed to prosecute criminal charges, not DOC policy violations. This case, which has no place in the District Attorney Office, gives rise to the appearance of a questionable relationship between the District Attorney Office and DOC staff. The trial has been postponed at last 6 times due to procedural errors by the prosecution.
The families of the Dallas 5, Human Rights Coalition (http://hrcoalition.org/) and Dallas 5 supporters have begun a campaign to have the charges dismissed. Supporters believe these false charges should be dropped, taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a personal vendetta and besides being false this case is not a cost effective use of the court system.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis’ office has received numerous calls and letters and a petition which to date has over 100 signatures. Currently, the Department of Justice is doing a system-wide investigation of the solitary units in Pennsylvania due to findings in SCI Cresson, in Cresson, PA. For more information and updates about the case please visit: http://scidallas6.blogspot.com/ To sign the petition to dismiss charges please visit: http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-dismiss-all-charges-against-dallas-5