by Julian Heicklen

Johnie C. Byrd CV­4469 was placed in Administrative Custody (AC) Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) on August 13, 1997, while he was at SCI Houtzdale, because of a possible misconduct. According to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections regulations, an inmate can be held in AC RHU for 10 days while an investigation proceeds. Then he must be brought to a hearing or be released to general population. The Superintendent has the authority to extend the detention period for an additional 10 days.

On August 23, 1997, Mr. Byrd wrote to Major Kyler asking for his hearing or release. He was notified that the Superintendent had authorized the additional 10 days extension. After that 10 days passed, Mr. Byrd again asked for a hearing or his release to general population. There was no change in status. Mr. Byrd was transferred to SCI Greene County on October 30, 1997, where he was continued to be held in AC RHU. Mr Byrd repeatedly requested to be released to general population. As of January 8, 1998, Mr. Byrd was still in AC RHU. He has been held for at least 148 days in AC RHU without formal charges or a hearing. He is allowed only 5 minutes to eat his meals, though the federal guidelines require 20 minutes.

When an inmate is transferred from one prison to another on AC status, he is supposed to be permitted to make a telephone call to either his family or lawyer. Mr. Byrd has been at SCI Greene County since October 30, 1997. He has requested 5 times to call his wife. Permission has been granted on at least 2 occasions. In an Inmate Request of October 20, 1997, to the Program Review Committee (PRC), he requested a call to his wife who just had an operation and is very sick. He was granted one phone call at Lt. Stitts' convenience. So far, it has not been convenient for Lt. Stitts to allow the telephone call. He saw the PRC on November 24, 1997, and Deputy Superintendent White gave him permission for a telephone call. However, he still has not been allowed to make any telephone call. He is particularly eager to contact his sick wife, who just had an operation. His mother-in-law died on December 29, 1997. As of January 8, 1998, he had not spoken to his family in 120 days.

At the time of his transfer from SCI Houtzdale to SCI Greene County, Mr. Byrd's personal belongings and TV were removed from his possession. Mr. Byrd repeatedly has requested to have these items returned to him, as he is entitled in AC RHU. As of January 8, 1998, this had not been done.