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href="http://solitarywatch.com/2017/03/27/nonviolent-protest-in-pennsylvania-solitary-confinement-unit-leads-to-seven-years-of-prosecutions/">http://solitarywatch.com/2017/03/27/nonviolent-protest-in-pennsylvania-solitary-confinement-unit-leads-to-seven-years-of-prosecutions/</a></font>
        <h1 id="reader-title">Nonviolent Protest in Pennsylvania
          Solitary Confinement Unit Leads to Seven Years of Prosecutions</h1>
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              <h2 class="post-date"><font size="-1">By <a
                    href="http://solitarywatch.com/author/victoria-law/">Victoria
                    Law</a> - March 27, 2017</font></h2>
              <p>On Monday, March 13, after a legal battle lasting
                nearly seven years, the last of the men known as the
                Dallas 6 had his day in court. Carrington Keys was one
                of six men who faced riot charges after protesting staff
                brutality in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at
                SCI-Dallas, a prison in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.</p>
              <p>As <a
href="http://solitarywatch.com/2014/11/10/on-trial-for-protesting-conditions-in-solitary-confinement-the-case-of-the-dallas-6/">reported
                  previously in Solitary Watch</a>, people in the RHU
                are locked into their cells for nearly 24 hours a day.
                People can be sent to the RHU for violating prison
                rules, including various nonviolent infractions. Keys
                was placed in the RHU for 90 days in 2001 after fighting
                with another prisoner. But staff found reasons to extend
                his stay in isolation. “He kept being written up for
                things like covering his light because the lights are on
                all night or for verbal assault for talking back to a
                guard,” his mother, Shandre Delaney, told Solitary
                Watch. Keys spent most of his twenties in the RHU. He
                was briefly released in 2009 but returned to the RHU
                later that year on charges of having contraband. He
                attributes his return to solitary confinement to the
                numerous grievances, lawsuits, and criminal complaints
                he filed against prison staff.</p>
              <p>In 2009, <a
                  href="http://prisonerstories.blogspot.com/"
                  rel="external nofollow" title="" class="ext-link"
                  data-wpel-target="_blank">Human Rights Coalition-Fed
                  Up!</a> began an investigation into prison conditions
                at the facility. Through letters from people inside,
                interviews with family members, institutional paperwork,
                affidavits and civil litigation documents, the group
                compiled <a
href="https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/media/publications/hrc_fed_up_institutionalized_cruelty_torture_and_sci_dallas_and_pa_prisons_2010.pdf"
                  rel="external nofollow" title="" class="ext-link"
                  data-wpel-target="_blank"><em>Institutionalized
                    Cruelty</em></a><em>, </em>a 93-page report
                detailing “the cruelty, illegality, suffering, racism,
                violence, and despair that constitute the reality
                inhabited by inmates at SCI Dallas.”</p>
              <p>According to the report, cells were filthy and the
                water from the sink was often brown. Other complaints
                included failure to provide physical and mental health
                care, deprivation of water, and routine physical
                violence. Prisoners also reported that staff tampered
                with their food, and frequently refused to feed a person
                by passing his cell as they handed out food trays (a
                practice known as “burning them for their trays”).</p>
              <p>On April 29, 2010, 20-year-old Isaac Sanchez noticed
                that staff did not give the man in the adjoining cell,
                Anthony Kelly, a food tray. Like Sanchez, Kelly had
                participated in HRC’s investigation, detailing verbal
                abuse, lack of water, and assaults by multiple staff on
                one person. “I said, ‘My neighbor’s not getting fed.
                That’s not policy,’” Sanchez told Solitary Watch.
                Sanchez and the officer argued, with Sanchez locked
                behind his cell door and the officer in the hallway.</p>
              <p>Staff told Sanchez to pack his property and be prepared
                to move. Seeing twelve other correctional officers in
                the hall, Sanchez said that he feared for his safety and
                refused to move. Sanchez reported that he was then
                sprayed with pepper spray, beaten, and tasered. He said
                staff took him to the law library where they cuffed him
                into a chair by his wrists and ankles.</p>
              <p>Others in the RHU attempted to do something about
                Sanchez’s beating. In Pennsylvania’s RHU, when a person
                covers the window to his cell, a supervising officer is
                called to his cell to ensure that he is not
                self-harming. In the past, people in the RHU have used
                this tactic to call in higher-ups to complain about
                guard brutality. That day, six men covered the windows
                of their cell doors after Sanchez was beaten and taken
                to the restraint chair. “That was our last resort. We
                didn’t think they [the captain or superior] was going to
                help, but what can you do? You’re locked in the cell,”
                explained Derrick Stanley.</p>
              <p>No supervising officer appeared. Instead, after asking
                to speak to the county public defender’s office, the men
                say, they were pepper sprayed and beaten. <a
                  href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK1wf1CTDYM"
                  rel="external nofollow" title="" class="ext-link"
                  data-wpel-target="_blank">Video clips obtained later
                  from the prison</a> and compiled by Keys’s mother,
                Shandre Delaney, show five officers in face masks and
                body armor piling onto and then “extracting” (or
                forcefully removing) Keys from his cell. On the video,
                Keys can be heard shouting, “I’m not resisting! I’m not
                resisting!” In the debriefing video that followed the
                cell extraction, the five officers as well as the
                officer acting as cameraperson reported no injuries.</p>
              <p><span class="embed-youtube"></span></p>
              <p>Months later, the state filed charges against the six
                men, accusing them of riot and intent to prevent or
                coerce an official act, which carry an additional seven
                years in prison if convicted. For years, the case
                dragged on. Eventually, Anthony Kelly, who had served
                his maximum sentence but was held in jail pending these
                charges, pled guilty to the riot charges to be released.
                Stanley, who had been released, pled guilty to resisting
                arrest so that he could move on with his life. Anthony
                Locke was found guilty of disorderly conduct, but his
                sentence of several months was allowed to run
                concurrently to his current prison sentence.</p>
              <p>In 2016, the remaining three—Andre Jacobs, Carrington
                Keys and Duane Peters—went to trial. When the jury
                deadlocked after only a few hours of deliberation, the
                district attorney dropped the riot charges, but then
                charged Keys with six felony counts of aggravated
                harassment. The prosecutor did not charge Jacobs or
                Peters again; both men were returned to prison to
                continue their sentence.</p>
              <p>On March 13, 2017, the judge ruled that Keys was guilty
                of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor conviction, but not
                of aggravated harassment. She sentenced Keys to four to
                eight months to run concurrently with his current
                sentence.</p>
              <p>For <a
href="http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39801-revolutionary-love-fighting-prison-injustice-from-both-sides-of-the-wall"
                  rel="external nofollow" title="" class="ext-link"
                  data-wpel-target="_blank">Shandre Delaney</a>, the
                verdict is a relief. “Now he can move on—and hopefully
                come home.” Keys has been eligible for parole since 2012
                and has appeared before the parole board several times.
                Each time, she says, the parole board has cited his
                pending charges as one of the reasons to deny his
                release. She hopes that the next parole hearing will
                result in a release date.</p>
              <p>But even if her son comes home, Delaney isn’t done. “So
                much is happening [inside prisons] that needed to be
                exposed. This case exposed a lot of that.” she told
                Solitary Watch the week after Keys’s final court date.
                She says she and HRC continue working to collect
                information about Pennsylvania prison conditions to
                bring more public awareness. “We have to put an end to
                solitary in our state. We need to help our prisoners
                have a voice and to support them when they resist
                torture, starvation, and abuse.”</p>
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