Call to End the Solitary Confinement Torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz
HRC & phillyimc editors | 02.19.2012
Russell Maroon Shoatz (#AF-3855), a 68-year-old prisoner held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania, has been kept in solitary confinement for more than 21 years. The Human Rights Coalition is calling on supporters of Russell Maroon Shoats to join in a petition to have him released from these torturous conditions. HRC is joined this effort by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyer's Guild.
"The primary focus is on Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA-DOC) Secretary John Wetzel," said Theresa Shoatz, Russell Maroon's daughter. "In 2011, the PA-DOC did an evaluation to release Maroon into general population, and the majority voted in favor. But Superintendent Folino voted no. The bottom line is had Superintendent Folino's voted yes, Maroon would have been transferred into population. We are putting pressure Secretary Wetzel to overturn superintendent Folino's vote." [Video Interview With Theresa Shoatz from Solitary Watch]
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Supporters of Russell Maroon Shoats have launched a campaign to have him released from the torturous solitary confinement that he has been held in for more than twenty years. A letter-writing and petition campaign has been launched and supported by the nation's leading human rights legal organizations, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild, along with the Human Rights Coalition, a prison abolitionist organization co-founded by Maroon.
Visit the campaign's website here and sign up for email updates by clicking the "Follow" link at the bottom right.
Commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal on Maroon: Memories of Maroon
Please take a second to sign the petition and help push back against solitary confinement torture!
Russell Maroon Shoats, a 68-year-old prisoner held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania, has been kept in solitary confinement for more than 21 years. He has been unable to hold his children or grandchildren or interact with others in a humane setting during this time, despite not having violated prison rules in two decades. He has suffered severe psychological anguish and his physical health has been worsened by the stress of prolonged isolation.
Maroon has spent nearly 40 years within the Pennsylvania prison system, 30 of those in solitary confinement. During this time he has earned a reputation amongst prison staff and prisoners as a leader because of his consistent support for human rights inside and outside the walls. Prison officials claim that Shoats is a security threat due to past escapes and attempts, though new evidence has surfaced that his continued solitary confinement is based on secret and fraudulent evidence of a non-existent plan to takeover a prison in the 1980s. Prison officials also identified Maroon's political associations as a basis for continuing to torture him via solitary confinement.
We are distressed and outraged that an elderly man who is nearing his 70th birthday continues to be treated in such a cruel manner based on his constitutionally-protected support for human rights and in retaliation for his expressing political opinions disfavored by the prison administration. Not having committed an infraction in more than two decades reveals that Russell Shoats is more than ready to re-enter the general prison population.
Click this link to join us in calling on prison officials to end the solitary confinement torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz by releasing him into the general population of the prison immediately.