Prisoners at SCI-Forest (Pennsylvania) are under attack!

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Call today to demand that DOC officials put an immediate stop to the campaign of harassment and abuse being led by Lt. Burkhart against prisoners at Forest!

Human Rights Coalition Action Alert- June 7, 2010

Prisoners in SCI-Forest's Restricted Housing Unit are being assaulted, threatened and denied food, & their legal paperwork and personal possessions are being destroyed by vengeful, racist guards.


 Call today to demand that DOC officials put an immediate stop to the campaign of harassment and abuse being led by Lt. Burkhart against prisoners at Forest!
Over recent months, the Human Rights Coalition has received multiple reports from the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI-Forest prison in Marienville, PA about the war being waged by Lt. Burkhart against the prisoners in the RHU. The men there report that Lt. Burkhart is targeting prisoners who've spoken up about abuse (& also often on the basis of race), and that he & his staff have committed (among others) the following human rights violations:


-Countless and repeated use of the word "nigger" and physical intimidation & assault of prisoners based on their race. Among the reports of racist violence by Forest staff are Burkhart's threat to kill President Obama and an April 22 assault that began with Burkhart handing a prisoner a spoon from off of the floor & stating "use this nigger or don't eat" & ending with the prisoner being physically beaten by guards & his property destroyed.

-Threatening men who've filed grievances/lawsuits & ordering guards to deny prisoners access to the law library.

-Denying prisoners food, & when others speak up in protest, denying those men their food as well. As of July 4, at least 10 men were being/had been denied food by staff acting under Burkhart's orders.

 CAll the DOC and demand an end to this abuse!

The following Department of Corrections officals are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the lives and living conditions of the prisoners confined in Forest prison. Call them up & let them know how you feel about prison officials who allow the guards under their command to harass, abuse, and torture the prisoners in their care!
Superintendent Debra Sauers-(814) 621-2110   Supt. Sauers is the warden of SCI-Forest and has the power to remove abusive guards from duty & to request outside investigation of her staff. Ask to speak to the Superintendent's office- you will be forwarded to a secretary and will likely end up speaking with Christine Kennedy, the Superintendent's Assistant. Let her know that the violations of prisoners' human rights being committed at SCI Forest will not be tolerated by the citizens of Pennsylvania!

OPR Director James Barnacle-(717) 214-8473   Mr. Barnacle is the Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility, the department that's responsible for investigating crimes committed by prison staff. He has the power to order an investigation of DOC staff on the basis of "abuse of prisoners" & other crimes. Ask to speak to Director Barnacle- let him or his staff know that you want to make sure that they know of the human rights violations being committed by SCI Forest staff & that it's OPR's duty to investigate.

Secretary Jeffrey Beard-(717) 975-4918    Mr. Beard is in charge of Pennsylvania's entire state prison system. Ask to speak to Secretary Beard- let him or his staff know that you're aware of the abuse being committed by his employees at SCI Forest and that you won't stand for it!

Thanks for your time- keep up the struggle!

Love, HRC
Human Rights Coalition: Fighting for the Rights and Lives of Prisoners
Philadelphia chapter:  215-921-3491        www.hrcoalition.org
Pittsburgh FedUp! chapter: 412-361-3022 ex.4        http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup/


Dont lie.

Are you kidding me? Abuse at SCI Forest? The prisioners at SCI Forest Have it really good. Free medical, Free education, Free food, Clean clothes, Cable TV ECT... All at the tax payers / victims expense. Do you really think they can abuse the prisioners there when there are cameras that watch every inch of that place all the time? If they were honest people they wouldnt be in there in the first place. The prisioners get much better treatment than they ever had. What about the victims? They dont get anything but nightmares from what these guys did to them. I know someone that is doing time there and he tells me that its one of the better pisions in the whole state. I bet you dont post this because you know its true.

Response to Don't Lie

Not all people in prison are criminals; some are actually innocent. Whether innocent or not, all people including criminals have the right to be free from harm. Believe it or not! Just because a person is incarcerated does not give the guards the right to violate any one. And what about the victims? Inmates are doing time for their crimes already and two wrongs don't make a right. I believe crime goes on in prisons at the hands of guards or whomever and they are not above the law. Just as you would expect a criminal to be incarcerated for their actions, prison officials should be treated the same if they commit acts of violence. Maybe if some of them were incarcerated for their actions, they would learn to treat others with humanity. You dig.


Are you kidding me? Do you know anyone that works in a prison? Have you ever watched any prison shows on tv? Those people are risking there lives everyday. It sounds like someone is feeding you a bunch of poop. If the prisoners knew anything about treating people with humanity they wouldnt be there. So tell me what about the victims? Oh yea, All the victims are ok now that criminals are behind bars. No more nightmares? Think again. I do agree with you on one thing, that not all people in prision are criminal. Only about 99 percent of them. You dig?

Don't Lie

I totally agree with you. Do the crime, do the time. If they want to be treated like normal human beings they should of never committed the crimes they did. If there is any abuse at all it is because the inmates are problematic who deserve no rights other than a small window to look out of. They should have NO TV, NO RADIO, NOTHING! They took the souls, pride and innocence of the victims. And what do they have? NOTHING so in turn the inmates deserve NOTHING. Kudos to the guards who have to deal with these wackos anyway. They put their lives on the line everyday because these criminals are desperate. If they were innocent, there would be something called BURDEN OF PROOF. Something that their peers did find in the conviction.



Really?? Everything Free

Free medical - they are charged a fee.
Free cable - they are charged a fee.
Everything in prison is not free for the inmates.


Where do they get the money to pay these fees? Thats right, the good honest hardworking people that obey the laws pay them to pickup after themselfs. I think they should be cleaning up the side of the roads, digging ditches, you know like paying for atleast some of the costs of keeping them warm, clean, dry, clean clothes, three hot meals, housing ect...


I do not know where you get your info from. tax payers do NOT pay the fees for inmates to have these things. family sends money to their commissary accounts which is where the payment for these things is paid from. so get off your high horse there buddy.

Heard from Inmates

My good friend was down in Florida and he was doing really well. He was very religious, working a job, being productive, going to school. Then he transferred to SCI Forest to be close to his family in PA. He said that they were basically torturing him, kept putting him in the hole, messing with his mail, and they broke his spirit. He seems like he has just given up on life, this is not the man I know so I know something really horrible has to be happening there. Imagine if it was your loved one?

Sorry to hear that...

Sorry to hear that somebody had a hard time, however, please know that nobody "puts" anybody into the "hole".

Inmates put themselves into the hole when they exhibit threatening behavior (to themselves or others).

Also, mail is not "messed with", however, it is my understanding that mail (incoming and outgoing) is subject to inspection. It is a STATE PRISON FACILITY. It is necessary to police mail, and I'm sure there is a science behind doing so.

Lastly, rest assured, there is no torture. I would love to give more details on this topic, and the reasons why conditions are quite the opposite, but I will not be disrespectful to anyone (you), or even get on that soap box.

In light of what I've told you, I hope you can understand that sometimes ladies / gentlemen who are housed in these types of facilities enjoy painting the picture with an unhappy face in order to play on the sympathies of families and friends.


Good! He did the crime he does the time. He is not above the law and has NO RIGHTS!

He obviously did something very bad to wind up in jail and did something worse to have his privleges taken away.

Inmates will make up stories just for the simple fact that they want more and that is the last thing they deserve!

I also know someone in there and I really hope he gets it but good for what he did! He is an self absorbed, condensending, ignorant animal and should be treated as such.

No reason for a laxitive for him or for yours for that matter! They both should of thought first before doing what they did to wind up in Jail int he first place! Anyone who condones rights of these people should be in there themselves!

Your Good Friend is a convict and a liar!

You say your friend transferred from FL to SCI Forest to be close to his family? You believe that? Are you kidding me? He's not a college student changing schools by choice! To enlighten you, convicts do not transfer from one state's prison to another state's system unless he completes his sentence in one state and owes time for a conviction in another state. Sounds like a "very religious, productive" guy to me. The fact of the matter is your "good friend" has probably spent a good portion of his life in prison(s) and he is finally starting to realize how bad he has screwed up his life. As you asked, I have imagined that this was my loved one. I would like to think that any one that I would consider to be my "loved one" would at least have the decency and respect to tell me the truth. Maybe you should suggest to this guy to put in for a transfer to Hawaii - it's beautiful there. He could say he has family there and he just wants to be close!!

All of you are blinded by Corrupt Law Officials and Idiots

Excuse me! but prisoners can put in to be transferred to another facility. Usually it is a State transfer though. They don't grant it often but at times they do. Yes most prisoners deserve to be where they are, locked up. There are some prisoners that don't deserve to be where they are. The punishment does not always fit the crime, and then there is the matter of being able to fight in court against their charges. If you cannot afford a criminal lawyer in a criminal case then you are screwed. The tax payers don't pay for prisoners extras, the families do by sending them money on their books, so that they may have TV, cable, see a Doctor, pay $10.00 for an asprin, etc. So don't get your uppity panties in an uproar. Calm your high horses down. Not all Prisons have decent staff. Just because they are in prison doesn't mean they should be treated like an abused animal or be treated with a KKK mentality. Which is not much of a mentality if you ask me. There is Corrupt Guards, Wardens, Directors, those who are paid a salary to regulate and help keep the inmates safe, free from harm. I believe that there is something wrong going on at Forest and that something needs to be done about it. It is bad enough that we have a Fucked up President for America, we don't need Fucked up Law Enforcement too, nor do we need a bunch of Ignorant People thinking that they are right. I bet that most of you better then people have a big big secret in your closet that you don't tell. Some one knows! Remember that next time you are quick to judge others.

My son has just been

My son has just been transferred there, I'm concerned for his safety @ the hands of the guards. What can I expect? Thank you and Blessings...

FYI... Inmates pay a

FYI... Inmates pay a nominal, one time fee of $5.00 for chronic medical care and receive all required medications absolutely free of charge. They receive clean, secure housing with modern amenities such as cable tv (with over 40 channels) for only around $16.00 per month. They are afforded opportunities for free edutation, occupational training, psyciatric and rehabilitation programming, free gym passes, as well as over 6 hours of recreation per day. Should he/she desire, an inmate has the opportunity to seek employment within the institution in various positions in order to purchase commissary etc. By and large, correctional officers react to inmate behavior- meaning that the inmate will encounter absolutely no disciplinary action whatsoever unless their actions required it by policy. Most correctional officers have respectful, if not cordial relationships with many inmates under their custody. (mostly because we have to get along inorder to make all of our lives easier within the institution). Lastly, inmates housed in the restricted housing units, and special management units statewide are chronic disciplinary problems. They are a threat to both staff as well as other inmates who simply want to serve their time and move on with their lives. RHU and SMU inmates are among the best manipulators that one will ever meet. They feed off of peoples sympathy created by their exaggerations and false perceptions of reality. All RHU and SMU housing units statewide are closely monitored by camera surveillance and absloutely all inmate activity (feedings, medication, recreation time, showers, etc.) is documented ad nauseum. Any and all allegations of abuse are investigated by the unit management staff, prison management, and/or the office of professional responsibility. Anyone who has ever worked in a prison knows this information but the general public may not. This message is intended to clarify some misinformation posted in previous comments.

Absolutely correct!

You are absolutely correct, anonymous comment of 05/21/11!

My mind cannot conceive that people would seriously believe otherwise, let alone publish it on a public website!


This article is the biggest bunch of untruths I've ever read. It is absolutely, positively, NOT credible. I have no idea where the information came from, but you, the author, have obviously been bamboozled in a BIG WAY, as there is not any merit to it whatsoever.

The person who placed the comment on 05/21/11 couldn't have stated the honest reality any better.

Open your eyes to the truth folks, seriously.

Who do you think published this garbage?

I'm willing to bet it is an inmate that published this garbage. Did you not get your way? The DOC is handing out pre-release like it is candy at a parade so don't give me this bullshit about abuse. You must be a lifer though. No pre-release for you. Let's look at some of the wording in the article. "the human rights coalition has received numerous reports from the RHU". Come on. Who? Yeah that's right the inmates. Imagine that, Inmates don't lie. "the war being waged by Lt. Burkhart:" Do you think any professional organization would say this. I've been around enough narcissistic inmates to know this is how they talk. Stereotype? I don't think so. "Love, HRC Human Rights Coalition" This one just makes me laugh. What organization in there right mind would end an article like this? Stop being a douchebag!!!!

Not everyone is a criminal

Not everyone that is in the prison is a criminal. My uncle was in there at one point in his life because he had 3 DUIs in a 10 year period. My husband now currently works as a correction officer and he is of color. I would hope that none of the guards are walking around calling people the "N" word. I can't speak for anyone else but I think no matter what someone has done noone should be callng them derogatory names. I understand they are criminals, but wasnt it tax payers money who put them there in the first place. I am sure they are paying for their crimes.

The human rights coalition

The human rights coalition can KISS MY ASS!!!! Walk a day in my shoes, see what I see, hear what I hear! I get nothing for what I do! What the convicts get they deserve! At SCI Forest the convicts are living free in captivity!

You'll Don't Know Sh**

And let us not forget you'll want inmates to be treated bad, but don't forget they are coming out monsters, To all you judge mental people And FYI Half of the world has or either, knows someone in the system, and everybody is not bad, be leave it or not some inmates have good hearts and children who love and miss them, and some are no-violent, and first timer wrong place wrong time, it can happen to anyone, .Let one of your children get wrongfully convicted, look at the news some people doing 20 or more years, and look found to be Innocent. So think about that, how would you like your child to be treated, cause remember your the only one that will be leave your child, he/she will be calling you, begging you for help and there is nothing you can do, to help them, cause the guards are not going to be leave that they are innocent they will treat them horrible like all the guilty inmates, who you want treated bad, Just think about that.

After carefully reading this

After carefully reading this comment it brought sadness and anger to my mind as well as disgust that some of you believe that everyone in prison deserves to be there. It is common knowledge that African-American men in particular have it the worst in the judicial system and many do not have the proper education to defend themselves or have a voice. At any given moment, it could be any one of us in prison. Pick a scenario: being somewhere at the wrong place wrong time, dealing with the wrong people, or engaging in activities in our youth that we may later regret. Life has so many twists and turns and you never know what's coming for you or your child or family members. I have no doubt in my mind that there is some truth to this article. Why exactly would it be far fetched that a prison located deep into the heart of Pennsylvania, where many still believe in confederates, would have prison guards calling Black men "N***ers"? Its very real. Its as real as the racism that still exists all over America. Prison is not a SPA, when you enter, you lose your dignity as a grown man and you have hell to pay based on some "judgement" made on your behalf that may or may not be true. There's only one person who can judge us all and it is GOD. Its a shame the society we live in and its even more disappointing that individuals believe that caging men and releasing them back into society is the best idea when in actuality it makes things more difficult because they aren't able to function properly. And as for these "tax payer" dollars you so adamantly speak of....PLEASE. Tax dollars are also paying for abortions, guns to start wars in other countries, and government salaries. Take your pick because the battleground is vast. Imagine a world where we practiced lOVE instead of HATE and empathy was our middle name.

Free stuff

I wish. How about close to $1000.00 for a family member for the ability to make phone calls collect only to me or my house. They have to by the tv and rent the cable and buy hats, gloves, long underware extra food for there cells. No you did not pay for that. Those that don't have anyone to send them money, do with out. In case you did not know where Forest is. Its on the top of the highest mountain only about 45 miles from Lake Eire. The coldest area in Pennsylvania. And as for being sent there by there peers. A lot of them are sent there by a Judge on recommendations of there parol officer who did not like them. Do some simple research on you local courthouse. You will probably find half the people are related or are friends of someone in the court house. It wasn't long ago it hit the news that most of the North East Counties government jobs were first for family members or you paid to get a job. And if these nepatist don't like you, they find a reason to send you up. Our Jails should not be as full as they are. A stupid pot smoker gets sent up for years while rapist and murderers are let out. You hear about it all the time. It's probably more like 25% should not be in there as long as they are or not at all. These are state prisons. Get sent to a county prison. They are privatly onwed. They are run so bad that a lot of prisoners want to get sent up to state penns because its safer. Wait till you get into the system or have a family member or close friend caught in the web of disgrace called the Pennsylvania Judicial System before you type on these pages that your government is reading and ready to strike at you.


$16.00 for cable of 40 channels is the going rate, I pay my loved ones cable and it is $20.00 a month. Most inmates also have jobs. Work that we on the outside get paid minimum wage or higher, the inmates get I think .35 cents to .55 cents an hour for, which also helps pay for the extras that they want.