Judge says Pennsylvania inmate’s decades in solitary to end

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A federal judge is directing Pennsylvania prison officials to end an inmate’s stay in solitary confinement after 36 years.

U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher Conner on Tuesday ruled that any concerns 64-year-old convicted murderer Arthur Johnson might escape are outweighed by arguments he should be housed with the general population.

Johnson made several escape attempts after being convicted of the 1970 murder of a man in Philadelphia, but officials describe him as being a model prisoner for the past 25 years.

Johnson’s small cell is illuminated at all hours, he gets one hour in a small caged-in area of the prison yard five days a week and is taken to showers in handcuffs three times a week.

Messages seeking comment from Corrections Department officials weren’t immediately returned.

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