Edited by Heather Handler
On the 1st anniversary of his death, Beacon Prison Action seeks justice for Samuel Harrell and reforms in NY prisons.
Samuel Harrell was serving time at the Fishkill Correctional Facility on drug charges. Samuel had bipolar disorder and on April 21, 2015, he somehow believed his sister was coming to pick him up, even though he had several years left to serve. He packed his bags and headed to leave. He was subdued and handcuffed. He was then beaten by as many as 20 corrections officers and thrown down a flight of stairs. Samuel Harrell died from his injuries sustained from that beating.
Beacon Prison Action, a community organization focused on prison reform initiatives, is “highlighting what happened with Sam as a way to get some changes that will be better for the inmates who continue to be in prison and for the correctional officers who have to work in this kind of environment.” said Jeff Golden, organizer of the April 23rd rally at Beacon’s Memorial Park.
The organization initiated a letter campaign to Governor Andrew Cuomo seeking several reforms:
- Any correctional officer involved in taking someone’s life should be assigned administrative duty while an investigation is conducted;
- An independent prosecutor should be assigned to investigate crimes of brutality against inmates;
- And, correctional officers should be wearing body cameras.
A year after Harrell’s death, none of the correctional officers involved in the beating have been charged for the crime. US Attorney Preet Bharara has joined the investigation into Harrell’s murder in partnership with Dutchess County DA William Grady’s office. Mr. Grady said on Monday that the investigation is active and ongoing.