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HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal civil rights investigation has concluded that a state prison in western Pennsylvania kept inmates with serious mental illness in solitary confinement for months or even years at a time.
The State Correctional Institution at Cresson violated the constitutional rights of inmates with mental illness and intellectual disabilities by keeping them in their cells 22 to 23 hours a day, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday. It said the prison used solitary confinement as a means of warehousing mentally ill inmates because of serious deficiencies in its mental health program.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections plans to close Cresson, but the Justice Department said the misuse of solitary confinement could extend to prisons statewide. The department is expanding its probe to include all state prisons.
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