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More news from PINJ

County officials investigate accounts given by the incarcerated about conditions at the jail. Was it investigation or intimidation? 

By Brittany Hailer Allegheny County Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns and County Jail Warden Orlando Harper on Friday released the initial findings of an investigation into declarations given by seven incarcerated individuals about conditions in the jail obtained by the Abolitionist Law Center.…

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Incarcerated person dies at Allegheny County Jail

By Brittany Hailer Roger Millspaugh, 74, died in the Allegheny County Jail on Dec. 22 according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner. Millspaugh was found unresponsive during “medication pass” on the jail’s medical housing unit, according to and email from jail administrators…

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Pittsburgh is Still a Contested Symbol

By Ed Simon In his book, ‘An Alternative History of Pittsburgh’ released by Belt Press this summer, Ed Simon considers the history of Pittsburgh from the geologic formation of the region, dating back to about 300 million years ago, to present day.…

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“I am still on edge” — one incarcerated man’s experience in the extended Allegheny County Jail lockdown

Corey Durrett-King was released from the Allegheny County Jail in May and still suffers from the effects of the 23-and-one lockdown that keeps the incarcerated in their cells for all but about one hour a day. To avoid spending hours inside his cell, Durrett-King volunteered to work cleaning cells in the jail’s mental health unit. 

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Fifth death reported by the Allegheny County Jail this year

Another individual incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail has died. Paul Allen, 55, died at UPMC Mercy Hospital on Saturday, October 9 after being transferred to the jail’s medical unit. Jail medical staff called 911 and Allen was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to an email sent for Warden Orlando Harper to the Jail Oversight Board (JOB). Allen is the fifth person to die in the jail’s custody this year and the tenth to die since April 2020, after the jail went into lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Three deaths in one month at Allegheny County Jail

Three incarcerated persons have died in Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) custody so far this September. The most recent, Justin Brady, is the second member of his family to die while in the county jail’s custody. On September 12, the ACJ announced that a 48-year-old man positive for COVID-19 died at a hospital, and another incarcerated individual, Vinckley Harris, 48, died on September 20.

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Allegheny County Controller’s office to investigate allegations of inadequate meals, food shortages tied to kitchen staff COVID cases

According to interviews of incarcerated persons and affidavits shared with the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (PINJ), food issues at the Allegheny County Jail have arisen due to incarcerated kitchen workers who are locked in quarantine for COVID-19. Allegations of starvation are being made in sworn statements collected by the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) and have prompted the Allegheny County Controller’s office to investigate the situation with the jail’s food vendor Summit Food Service LLC.

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Jail Oversight Board member Chelsea Wagner describes “a real veil of secrecy” around deaths reported at the Allegheny County Jail

County Controller Chelsea Wagner, a member of the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board, said today that the handling of deaths at the jail represents “a mindset of treating people in the jail as less than human.” Her comments came in response to a July 2021 story published by the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (PINJ) that detailed recent deaths in the jail.

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Recent focus on the deaths of incarcerated individuals at the Allegheny County Jail raises questions: Are all deaths reported? And what details are released?

Earlier this month, Martin Bucek, 55, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Allegheny County Jail and transported to UPMC Mercy, where he was pronounced dead. Bethany Hallam, Allegheny County Councilwoman and member of the Jail Oversight Board (JOB), said she found out about Bucek’s death from incarcerated persons at the jail and members of the media before it was reported to the JOB by jail administration.

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The Majesty and the Underbelly of Pittsburgh in Ed Simon’s New Book, “An Alternative History of Pittsburgh”

In “An Alternative History of Pittsburgh,” a nifty little book of 40 flash essays just released from Belt Press, author Ed Simon takes the reader through some of the highlights and lowlights of Pittsburgh’s past, dating all the way back to 300 million BC and running right up to the ongoing schismatic gentrification of East Liberty.

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Dolly and Justin Bucek sit side-by-side, smiling for the camera.

Ex-wife questions death of Martin Bucek, Allegheny County Jail resident with psychiatric disability

When Allegheny County police officers knocked on Dolly Bucek’s door on July 3, they brought news of her ex-husband who she hadn’t heard from in months. “‘Martin has died in the jail.’ That’s what they told me. [Guards] were doing checks and that’s how they found him,” Dolly Bucek said. She says she won’t give up until she finds out how and why Martin Bucek died.

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County Officials Release Few Details On a Holiday Weekend Death at the Allegheny County Jail

Details are scarce about the death of an incarcerated man at the Allegheny County Jail over the July 4 weekend. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office identified Martin Bucek, 55, as the county jail resident who died July 3. He was found unresponsive in a single cell at the jail, according to an email sent to the Jail Oversight Board (JOB) by President Judge Kimberly Berkeley Clark, who serves as chair of the board.

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