WJAC-TV: Parents Sue Over Son’s Suicide at SCI Cresson

By: WJAC Web Staff and The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The parents of an inmate who hanged himself in a state prison in Cambria County have sued the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for misusing solitary confinement to deal with mentally ill inmates.

The State Correctional Institution at Cresson where 23-year-old Brandon Palakovic killed himself in July 2012 was closed last year.

Before that happened, the U.S. Department of Justice found that the prison allowed prisoners with serious mental illnesses “to simply languish, decompensate and harm themselves in solitary confinement for months or years on end.”

Renee and Darian Palakovic filed their federal lawsuit late Tuesday naming corrections Secretary John Wetzel, the prison’s superintendent, and several others, including six unnamed guards.

A corrections spokeswoman said the department doesn’t comment on litigation, but referred to a news release that says state prison officials have enacted reforms in the wake of the Justice Department findings.

SCI Cresson and SCI Greensburg were closed when SCI Benner was opened in Centre County. Most inmates from those prisons were moved to the Centre County facility, which is outside of State College.

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