For Immediate Release
June 01, 2022
Contact Information

Dacrie Brooks, Director of Communications
The Marshall Project
156 West 56th Street, Suite 701
New York, NY 10019

(BPRW) Today's News from The Marsh Proj and NPR: How the Newest Federal Prison Quickly Became One of The Deadliest

(Black PR Wire) New York, NY -- Today, The Marshall Project and NPR released a new investigation into the U.S. Penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois, a new federal prison that has quickly become one of the deadliest, with five suspected homicides and two suicides in under two years. 

Men in USP Thomson are locked down for nearly 24 hours a day — with a cellmate. And along with the constant threat of violence, dozens of men at Thomson reported they were being chained and shackled for hours or days by staff, in restraints so tight they cut into their flesh. Many said they were denied food and water and forced to sit in their own waste.

“They’re literally afraid for their lives,” said Jacqueline Kutnik-Bauder, deputy legal director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. “[But] if they refuse to be called with a person who they think could kill them … they get pulled out of the cell and put into restraints as a punishment.”

Federal prisons across the country are facing growing scrutiny over outbreaks of violence and abuse by officers. But there’s been little national attention paid so far to the ongoing violence at Thomson. Our reporting builds on the 2016 groundbreaking investigation, “The Deadly Consequences of Solitary with a Cellmate,” in collaboration with NPR, which first exposed the danger of double-celling and the abuse of restraints in the Bureau of Prisons. 

Christie Thompson, staff writer for The Marshall Project, and Joe Shapiro at NPR can discuss the details of this joint investigation. Let me know if you’d like to arrange an interview. 

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