Resource: Shoatz v. Wetzel

By: Abolitionist Law Center

February 12, 2016

Abolitionist Law Center

Russell Maroon Shoatz is 70-years-old and was locked in solitary confinement at various state prisons for 22 consecutive years, and nearly 30 years non-consecutively. Shoatz is a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, human rights advocate, and published author. During most of his time in solitary confinement, Shoatz had an impeccable disciplinary record, receiving only one misconduct for a rule violation when, in an attempt to stay warm, he covered a vent in his cell that was blowing cold air. Despite his positive disciplinary record, age, and health problems, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) Secretary John Wetzel and other leading officials continued to hold Shoatz in solitary confinement for years.