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.
In an attempt to address the alleged inmate abuse at USP Lewisburg, 37 civil and human rights organizations wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney General petitioning her to request the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General to investigate the practices of the Bureau of Prisons at Lewisburg. They addressed the practice of housing inmates in double cells for prolonged periods, using hard restraints, and the lack of mental house treatment. The Lewisburg Prison Project has been trying to get the prison investigated for years and hopefully this letter will have an impact.
Moore's article reviews the recent NPR article which highlights the work of the Lewisburg Prison Project. Reiterating descriptions of the horrible conditions the author notes that their organization, The Daily Item, has been reporting on this issue for some time now and are relieved that the issues within the penitentiary are finally being brought to light.
An inmate at the local Penitentiary in Lewisburg who claims he was unjustifiably put in hard restraints for 19 hours due to refusing to bunk with a cellmate has won partial summary judgement in federal court. Dave Sprout, a paralegal with the Lewisburg Prison Project, said the decision is a step in the right direction for unreasonable treatment towards prisoners.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is making changes to the way it operates Special Management Units (SMU) at facilities across the nation, including the penitentiary located in Lewisburg. SMUs are special prisons designed to rehabilitate the most violent and disruptive inmates through a three-phase program. According to Dave Sprout, a paralegal at Lewisburg Prison Project, the changes are a step in the right direction in addressing some of the problems raised to awareness by the inmate advocacy group.
Sebastian Richardson alleges inmates at USP Lewisburg are subjected to unconstitutional and unconscionable conditions. The basis of Richardson 's complaint is discipline he says he has endured since he arrived at Lewisburg in 2010. Dave Sprout, of the Lewisburg Prison Project, said the 3rd Circuit Court is being asked to reconsider allowing the suit to move forward as a class-action proceeding because the plaintiffs are challenging the prison's alleged use of hard restraints as punishment against inmates and not simply one incident involving Richardson.
After a cut in funding due to investment losses, Lewisburg Prison Project attorney, Cheryl Humes, had to be laid off. The office still employs paralegal Dave Sprout, as well as a secretary, and LPP will continue to address complaints and concerns from prisoners.