USP Lewisburg

Lawyer will be working with Lewisburg inmates

December 6, 2017 | Marcia Moore | The Daily Item

A staff attorney is once again working at the Lewisburg Prison Project more than nine years after the position was eliminated.

James Davy stepped into the role Nov. 20 working with the nonprofit inmate advocacy group that serves in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project.

“There are a lot of claims that exist that I’ll get to assist,” he said, including two class-action lawsuits against the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg alleging mistreatment of mentally ill prisoners and excessive use of restraints in the Special Management Unit (SMU) of the prison.

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Federal penitentiary inmates down by 500

February 4, 2017 | Marcia Moore | The Daily Item

Due to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons' plans to limit the time inmates can spend in the SMU program, the Lewisburg Penitentiary now houses about 500 fewer inmates. Dave Sprout, a paralegal with the Lewisburg Prison Project, believes that this change will lower the number of violent incidents that take place due to the amount of cell space this change frees up. 

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Prison Project points to abuse at USP

December 1, 2016 | Matt Farrand | Standard-Journal

Allegations of abuse at USP Lewisburg are still a common occurrence since the new security protocols were instilled in 2009.  The prison uses hard restraints that cut off the inmates' circulation as well as other unnecessary punishments.  David Sprout, a paralegal and member of the Lewisburg Prison Project, believes that some of the actions of the penitentiary can be seen as torture.

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NPR report thrusts Lewisburg Penitentiary into national conversation on prison reform

November 1, 2016 | Marcia Moore | The Daily Item

A joint National Public Radio and Marshall Project report on alleged abuse of inmates inside the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg is prompting members of an interfaith organization against torture to call on the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to investigate.

“We are gravely concerned about this,” said the Rev. Laura Markle Downton, director of U.S. prisons policy and program at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

The NPR/Marshall Project report, “Inside Lewisburg Prison: A choice between a violent cellmate or shackles” includes claims The Daily Item has written about for years regarding inmate allegations of mistreatment at the federal prison since it was converted in 2009 into a Special Management Unit (SMU).

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Inside Lewisburg Prison: A Choice Between A Violent Cellmate Or Shackles

October 26, 2016 | Josh Shapiro | National Public Radio: All Things Considered

Listen to the NPR radio news report here →

28 Days in Chains

October 26, 2016 | Christie Thompson and Josh Shapiro | The Marshall Project

In this federal prison, inmates have a choice: live with a violent cellmate or end up in shackles.

On Feb. 3, 2011, corrections officers at Lewisburg federal penitentiary in rural Pennsylvania arrived outside Sebastian Richardson’s cell door. With them was a man looking agitated and rocking back and forth. He stared down at Richardson, who at 4 feet, 11 inches was nicknamed “Bam Bam.”

The man, officers told Richardson, was his new cellmate. The two would spend nearly 24 hours a day celled together in a concrete room smaller than a parking space.

Richardson, 51, didn’t know his new cellmate’s name, only that he also went by a nickname: "The Prophet." He had a habit of screaming songs or shouting the spelling of words for hours, as though competing in his own private spelling bee. There were also rumors that he had assaulted more than 20 previous “cellies.”

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Inmate allowed to pursue suit over use of restraints because he refused to accept cellmate

July 15, 2016 | John Beauge | PennLive

Sebastian Richardson contends when he refused to accept a cellmate at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary out of safety fears that he was held in restraints for nearly a month in 2011.

He filed a federal lawsuit that year alleging officials at Lewisburg violate policy by using restraints to punish inmates who refuse a hostile cellmate.

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