Allegheny County Jail

On a blue sky cloudy day the sun sits warm across the riverside face of Pittsburgh's Allegheny County Jail.

Allegheny County Jail

PINJ’s investigations into the jail and its conditions

Latest STORIES


PINJ has paid particular attention to the Allegheny County Jail throughout the pandemic, as virus mitigation forced incarcerated individuals to remain in their cells for 23 hours a day, illness and staff shortages among incarcerated kitchen workers caused meals to be limited at times to baloney sandwiches prompting an investigation by the County Controller and severe staff shortages in the medical and mental health staffs, reduced treatments and programs for the incarcerated. PINJ has tracked the deaths of those in custody of the Allegheny County Jail for two years, culminating in a three-part series.

MORE ALLEGHENY COUNTY JAIL COVERAGE


‘Try to do something’:  97-year-old Marion Damick shares 20-year history of attending Jail Oversight Board meetings
by Amy Whipple At the January Jail Oversight Board meeting, Marion Damick stands behind a podium—her shoulders barely clearing its top—and pulls the microphone …
Keri Blakinger’s memoir interrogates the ordinary cruelties of the carceral system
by Jody DiPerna Journalist and writer Keri Blakinger spent about two years behind bars, serving time on drug charges in both jails and prisons …
Manner of death ruled as ‘natural’ for two men who died in Allegheny County Jail 
by Brittany Hailer Two men who died in the Allegheny County Jail earlier this year, died of natural causes related to heart disease, according …
Jail officials across Pa. sound alarm as mental health crisis puts people at risk, survey finds
A statewide survey of county jails by Spotlight PA and the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism revealed many facilities openly admit they are not …
‘A significant history of fraud and deception’: Allegheny County Jail doctor disciplined by medical licensing boards across the country
by Brittany Hailer UPDATE, October 5, 2022: After learning of PINJ’s investigation and subsequent story, Dan Laurent, vice president of corporate communications of Allegheny …
Combined drug overdose cited as cause of death for man incarcerated at Allegheny County Jail
By Brittany Hailer Victor Joseph Zilinek, 39, an incarcerated person at the Allegheny County Jail, suffered a drug overdose resulting in his July 13 …
Hours before he died, the Allegheny County Jail released an incarcerated man with intellectual disability from custody
by Brittany Hailer Anthony Talotta, 57, died Wednesday at UPMC Mercy Hospital after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the Allegheny County …
Allegheny County announces contract for ‘historical review of fatalities’ hours after fifth jail death
By Brittany Hailer Ronald James Andrus, 78, died in the Allegheny County Jail Sunday. Andrus was being held on a probation violation at the …
Citations, fines, and terminated contracts: an inside look at the Allegheny County Jail health code violations
The jail has been cited by the Allegheny County Health Department 162 times since 2014. By Jake Dabkowski Since 2014, The Allegheny County Jail’s …
A fourth person dies in Allegheny County Jail custody
By Brittany Hailer Victor Joseph Zilinek, 39, died Wednesday in the Allegheny County Jail, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, marking the fourth …
Allegheny County sued after jail allegedly failed to prevent the suicide of incarcerated person
By Brittany Hailer Content warning: this story includes topics of suicide, suicidal ideation and self-harm  A year after he was found unresponsive in the …
“Are we running a jail or a cemetery?” Mother asks Allegheny County Jail warden 
Jake Dabkowski Inadequate medical staffing at the Allegheny County Jail, jail officials' failure to notify families of deaths in a timely manner and Warden …
A man died in jail. Now his mother calls for an investigation into a judge’s decision to keep him there despite charges being dropped.
By Brittany Hailer The mother of a man who died at the Allegheny County Jail in March has filed a request for an investigation …
Blunt force trauma to the head cited as cause of death for former Catholic priest incarcerated at Allegheny County Jail
By Brittany Hailer Paul Spisak, an incarcerated person at the Allegheny County Jail, suffered blunt force trauma to the head resulting in his Jan. …
An incarcerated man died in the Allegheny County Jail Thursday, marking third death this year
By Brittany Hailer Jerry Lee Ross Jr., 48, died at the Allegheny County Jail Thursday, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner. This death …
Her husband died after transfer to the hospital from the Allegheny County Jail. Theresa Harris questions why she wasn’t asked for permission on his surgery and DNR order
By Brittany Hailer For several days, Theresa Harris’ daughter refreshed VineLink, an online portal that indicates if someone is in custody at the Allegheny …
Lack of transparency and oversight leave officials, families and media with questions following Allegheny County Jail deaths
By Brittany Hailer In Allegheny County, families of incarcerated individuals who die after entering the Allegheny County Jail have difficulty getting details about what …
In most of the state autopsy reports for those who die in jail are public, but not in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties
By Brittany Hailer Allegheny County and Philadelphia County are the only counties in Pennsylvania where autopsy reports from coroner and medical examiners offices are …
Thirteen men died after going to the Allegheny County Jail. Here are their stories.
By Brittany Hailer Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, 13 men incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail have died, the …