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March 15, 2024


Harrisburg, PA – March 15, 2024 – PennLive recently reported the cutting of power for over two weeks to certain populations in the basement of the Dauphin County prison and removing protected legal work. Patrick A. Casey, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL), made the following statement.

“PACDL vehemently condemns the appalling actions of Dauphin County Prison officials for their decision to turn off the lights in two segregation units, leaving inmates in the dark for a staggering 14 hours per day for more than two weeks. It is deeply distressing and utterly unacceptable that prison officials would subject individuals in their care to such inhumane conditions. This egregious violation of basic human rights and decency cannot be overlooked or excused. 

The deprivation of light not only exacerbates the already challenging conditions of incarceration but also poses serious risks to the physical and mental well-being of inmates. Such actions demonstrate a flagrant disregard for established standards of humane treatment and rehabilitation within the correctional system. Correctional facilities have a responsibility to uphold the dignity and rights of all individuals in their custody, regardless of their circumstances.
Additionally, access to legal counsel is a fundamental right, and any actions that impede or restrict this access, including removal of legal work product from inmates’ cells undermines the principles of justice and fairness. It is essential for them to have the ability to communicate freely and confidentially with their attorneys to ensure access to due process. Any policies or practices that limit this communication not only violate the rights of the individuals involved but also erode trust in the legal system.

Finally, we urge the state and Dauphin County Commissioners to prioritize oversight and reform within the correctional system, to conduct a thorough investigation, and report the findings in this matter to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Those responsible for authorizing and implementing this cruel and inhumane policy must be held publicly accountable for their actions. It is imperative that steps are taken to ensure that all individuals in custody are treated with humanity.”