Prison Radio
Sergio Hyland

What’s up everybody, it’s Uptown Serg. I need you to listen to me on this.

On August 26, 2020, at approximately 7:55 AM, a guard illegally deployed a pepper spray, assaulting a prisoner simply because that prisoner didn’t hang up the phone when she ordered him to.

While there’s been much speculation about this incident throughout the institution, I witnessed it first hand and in fact, I was the only person to help this prisoner wash the chemicals out of his eyes while he gasped for air, pleading that he couldn’t breathe. These assaults are becoming more commonplace throughout the state of Pennsylvania, as an influx of new guards are being trained to use force first and ask questions second.

Since Pennsylvania prisons have gone into an enhanced lockdown. Staff has been using this opportunity to control the population through tactics of fear, intimidation, and violence. When this prisoner was pepper sprayed, he didn’t present a threat. In fact, he remained seated in his chair throughout the entire ordeal.

He even pleaded with the guard that he was on the phone with his mother. But in typical fashion of the oppressor, this guard pepper sprayed that prisoner—while a dozen other guards ran on to the unit and handcuffed him. After I helped wash his eyes out with water, the guards hauled him off the solitary confinement, where he remains as I speak.

Whenever the cameras are rolling, Secretary of Corrections John Wessel puts on a convincing act as if he’s taking corrections in a new direction. The reality is that these prisoners are on the brink of an explosion, stoked by the aggression and violence of poorly trained prison guards. And these guards are allowed to act with impunity as they terrorize the population.

Other staff see what’s going on, but refuse to threaten their job security by blowing the whistle. Anybody listening to this, I hope you understand that we need your help on the inside. If you don’t get involved, many of us will die behind these walls. People will claim that I’m lying. But all you need to do is ask for the footage of these incidents to be released. And everything will be cleared up then.

Thank you for listening. You can follow me on Instagram @uptownserg.

(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.