Justice For John Carter And Other Pennsylvania Inmates
  • Petitioned United States Department of Justice

This petition was delivered to:

United States Department of Justice
Centre County District Attorney
Pennsylvania Attorny General
United States District Attorney for the Middle District Of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State Police

Justice For John Carter And Other Pennsylvania Inmates

    1. Clarissa  Williams
    2. Petition by

      Clarissa Williams

      Pittsburgh, PA

John Carter, a 32-year-old state prisoner from Pittsburgh, was killed by prison staff at SCI Rockview during a cell extraction on April 26, 2012.A cell extraction is a procedure where six guards suit up in riot gear armed with pepper spray, a stun shield and taser, and enter a prisoner’s solitary confinement cell and forcibly subdue, handcuff and shackle him.Carter was just 16 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison.

Guards unloaded a deliberately excessive amount of pepper spray into his cell during the extraction, and then assaulted and tasered him--as many as seven times according to some reports--when they opened his cell door. The extraction was ordered in response to Carter protesting his being starved of his dinner meal. The killing of John Carter occurred within a unit where physical and psychological abuse was and is escalating, as are acts of guard retaliation, racism, and issuing prisoners fabricated misconducts to keep them buried in solitary confinement for months or even years.


John Carter spent the last ten years of his life in several solitary confinement units in PA Department of Corrections prisons, and in 2008 he was placed on the Restricted Release List (RRL), an indefinite form of solitary confinementthat can only be ended with approval by the DOC secretary. Carter continued to be held in solitary in retaliation for his speaking out against the widespread abuse of prisoners by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.


We, as concerned citizens and human rights advocates, demand a full and transparent investigation into the killing of John Carter, and for those found responsible to be charged and held accountable for their actions. Join us in calling on the Centre County District Attorney, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police, the United States District Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and the United States Department of Justice to launch a legitimate investigation that will ensure that there is some measure of justice for John Carter

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • cheryle abul-husn CROWN POINT, IN
      • over 2 years ago

      They lock up our children and then expect them to sit by quietly as they are abused and mistreated. The crimes being commited against inmates is sometimes worse than the crime that got the inmate locked up in the first place, This young man grew up in prison. No one knows what he has endured from other inmates and correctional officrs. Is that okay? How are human beings supposed to survive living in solitary confinement? We don't allow people to get away mistreating animals, can we except the mistreatment of human beings? I understand that the officers have to protect themselves but sometimes the officers go too far. There has to be a limit to how much force can be used. Deadly force is too much! Please, you can't bring back John Carter, but you can give him some justice. Punish his murderers just as John was punished. Please stop this from happening again.

    • Deborah Willett COATESVILLE, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      There are so many things wrong here. A 16 yr old sentenced to life without parole, all those years in isolation, and the amount of force used for the extration. WRONG, WRONG WRONG!!!! From a mom whose son killed himself in prison in March 2012 to avoid the lack of mental health services and over medication!!

    • Cecele Levinson BERKELEY, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      This is the first time we've heard the term, "cell extraction" and we find it difficult to believe that this particularly brutal form of retaliation is being condoned by our law enforcement community. If it weren't for the modern implements, we would have thought it was left-over from the Middle Ages, the In-

      quisition. We urge that "cell extraction" be prohibited at all prisons. Sincerely,

      Mr. and Mrs. Saul Levinson

    • Meghan Barner PORTLAND, OR
      • over 2 years ago

      Torture - to say nothing of torture that results in a murder - is unacceptable at the hands of our public officials. This case abounds with tragedy and civil rights violations: a life sentence for a juvenile, solitary confinement, punishment for exercise of rights and protest of terrible conditions.

      John Carter's death demands an outcry. An investigation into the circumstances of his murder is just the first step.

    • Anita Rosenblithe NEW YORK, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      "Cell extraction" is hardly the word for it. Clearly, the DOC should be investigated for the human rights abuses in this case. The state of Philadelphia has one of the highest numbers of juvenile offenders in the U.S. He never should have been sentenced as an adult in the first place. In other industrialized countries, he would not have been.


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