This is the story of Duane Ferguson CL9301 at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Rockview. Mr. Ferguson was an inmate at SCI Coal Township at the time of the prison riot on August 14, 1995. Mr. Ferguson was arrested for participating in the riot and beaten by the guards. He was transferred to the Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU), also known as solitary confinement, at SCI Waymart. Thus he had no opportunity to talk to witnesses or prepare a defense for his misconduct hearings. You also should notice that in the Department of Corrections (DOC) the punishment starts before the hearings are held.
Mr. Ferguson was disciplined for participating in the riot at SCI Coal Township on August 14, 1995, although he denies participating in that riot. Mr. Ferguson's testimony is that after the SCI Coal Township riot there was a general lockup in the prisoners' cells on August 15, 1995. On that day Ferguson was sent to RHU and remained in RHU until October 1996. On the way to RHU, Ferguson claims that he was beaten by the guards while he was handcuffed. On the night of August 15, he again was beaten in his cell. (He knows the names of the guards that beat him.). On August 16, he was beaten again outside his cell. On August 17, he was transferred to SCI Waymart, and on April 24, 1996, he was transferred to SCI Rockview.
Mr. Ferguson was charged with: 1) Disobeying an order, 2) Inciting a riot, 3) Beating Officer Stewart, and 4) Beating Officer Easterday. Criminal charges were not filed against either Mr. Ferguson for beating Officers Stewart and Easterday or against the guards for beating Mr. Ferguson. Here is a summary of what happened to Mr. Ferguson:
I saw Mr. Ferguson on November 15, 1996. At that time SCI Rockview was no longer deducting money for fines. Mr. Ferguson said that he would request that Francis Dougherty (the Business Manager) send him a statement of how much money has been deducted in the past. Then Mr. Ferguson will write to the Chief Counsel to request return of previous deductions. As of January 14, 1997, none of the previously deducted money was returned.
Amnesty International will be conducting a campaign in 1998 against human rights abuses in the United States. Research is now being conducted by international (no U. S. participants) employees of Amnesty International. There are 4 areas being investigated: 1) Police brutality, 2) Prison conditions, 3) Political asylum, 4) Racism in prison sentencing. I am supplying information to the investigating commission about prisons in Pennsylvania.