Pennsylvania agrees to upgrade inmates’ death row conditions

Regional

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s prison agency is agreeing to improve death row conditions to settle a lawsuit that described the condemned inmates’ treatment as degrading and inhumane.

The Corrections Department and lawyers for the inmates who sued announced an agreement Monday that provides people on death row at least 42½ hours a week out of their cell, daily access to phones and contact visits with their families, lawyers and religious advisers.

The settlement also limits the use of strip searches, shackling and other restraints unless temporarily needed.

Death row inmates who have been psychologically damaged by long periods in solitary confinement will be evaluated and offered help adapting to a general population setting.

A Wolf administration spokesman confirmed the settlement and said many of the agreement’s changes have already been adopted.

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