Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Dallas 6 Case: Solitary Confinement on Trial in a United States Courtroom

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The trial of the Dallas 6 is set to begin on December 9, 2013 in the Luzerne County Courthouse before Judge Lesa Gelb. It is a rare instance of solitary confinement being put on trial in a United States courtroom. This trial pertains to an April 29, 2010 peaceful protest to illegal and barbaric conditions created by the Department of Corrections prison guards in the hole at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas), including food starvation, mail destruction, beatings, medical neglect, use of a torture chair and deaths of various prisoners.

After guards tortured fellow prisoner Isaac Sanchez in the torture chair overnight and threatened several Dallas 6 members with death, inmates Andre Jacobs, Carrington Keys, Duane Peter, Derrick Stanley, Anthony Locke and Anthony Kelly decided that they did not want to suffer anymore. Covering their cell door windows with bedding, the prisoners demanded that the abuse stop, and requested access to their counselors, state police, the District Attorney and the Public Defenders Office. They had no access to telephones or computers and their incoming and out-going mail were being destroyed to undermine their ability to expose the corruption.

Rather than investigate or attempt to resolve the issues which occurred for over a year prior to April 29, 2010, prison officials staged an armed assault against the unarmed men, who were all locked inside of their individual cells, viciously attacking them with electro-shock shields, tazers, fists, and pepper-spray. While all of the guards involved in the incident admitted that they did not suffer any injuries, members of the Dallas 6 were left bloody, naked, with burnt skin, and in pain.

Following the assaults, several Dallas 6 members were transferred to other prisons. Hundreds of documents were generated, including specific claims of misconduct alleged against the Dallas 6. Not once was the word riot mentioned. After civil actions and other complaints were filed against prison guards and officials regarding the events, the prison, state police, and the Luzerne County Office of the District Attorney formed an alliance to bring criminal charges against the Dallas 6,--now calling the incident a riot four months later.

The Wilkes-Barre Dallas 6 Support Team exists to educate Luzerne County citizens about how their tax dollars are being misused to persecute and abuse people in their name. From transporting the Dallas 6 to court with helicopters hovering above, attorney hours, housing, court staffing, and travel over the course of a 3-year period, the state has spent between $250,000 and half a million dollars to prosecute these men who took a stand to save their lives and the lives of people around them.

The trial of the Dallas 6 will represent a moment of truth and exposure. We call on all who believe in justice and equality to promote awareness of this case.

Who: The Dallas 6: Six Men Protesting the Conditions of Their Solitary Confinement
at State Correctional Institution at Dallas (Pennsylvania).
What: Solitary Confinement on Trial in Pennsylvania.
When: December 9, 2013.
Where: Luzerne County Courthouse
200 North River Street
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18711
Press Contact:
Dallas Six Legal Defense Committee--Philadelphia
Vania Gulston--267.591.7219, vaniagulston@thedallas6.org, www.thedallas6.org


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