Ms. Stefanie J. SalavantisLuzerne County District Attorney200 North River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18711
Dear Ms. Salavantis,
As members of diverse religious communities throughout Pennsylvania, we are writing to call for the immediate dismissal of charges against the Dallas 6. We believe these charges and the torture these men have endured, is immoral and an affront to our system of justice.
The Dallas 6 have experienced tremendous brutality in the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, PA (SCI Dallas). In April 2010, a peaceful protest against inhumane conditions was held by Mr. Duane Peters, Mr. Carrington Keys, Mr. Andre Jacobs, Mr. Derrick Stanley, Mr. Anthony Locke, and Mr. Anthony Kelly, who were in solitary confinement. In isolation, they experienced particularly harsh conditions including being deprived of food, beatings, medical neglect, and use of a “torture chair.” Each of the men responded by covering their cell door windows with bedding in an effort to prevent such harsh treatment by corrections staff from continuing. They requested access to counselors, state police, the District Attorney and the Public Defenders’ Office.
Response from correctional staff included teargas, mace, batons, stun guns and shock shields leaving the men bloody, naked and in pain. Rather than properly addressing these abuses, criminal charges were filed against the Dallas 6 with your office, charging them with rioting and assaulting a guard. We are gravely concerned that though the entire incident was taped, one video was withheld for five years and only recently shared with Mr. Keys for review.
We appeal to you from a place of basic moral decency, and in a political moment when leaders including President Obama and Pope Francis are decrying practices of torture including solitary confinement, within U.S. prisons. We believe in the humanity of each person, that we are all precious in God’s sight and endowed with inherent dignity. Yet, far too often the humanity of each person gets lost when people enter our prison system.
We urge you to dismiss the charges against the Dallas 6 without delay.
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