SCI-Fayette inmate ends 18-day hunger strike
A 28-year-old inmate at SCI-Fayette in LaBelle apparently has ended an 18-day hunger strike, officials said.
“The situation has resolved itself,” said Rhonda House, spokeswoman for the state prison in Fayette County.
House said she was not permitted to give additional details regarding Randall Parran’s refusal to eat, but several Fayette court officials said the prison sent word Friday that the inmate had resumed eating.
Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen had issued an order authorizing the state Department of Corrections to force-feed Parran and a hearing date had been set, but the hearing is expected to be canceled.
Officials sought the court order Tuesday, when they filed a civil lawsuit indicating Parran had lost 14 pounds since he began his hunger strike Oct. 18.
Parran had refused 50 consecutive meals as of Nov. 4, according to the lawsuit, and the prison doctor was concerned he “could be in imminent danger or suffering irreparable harm unless medical treatment, including nutrition, is administered to Mr. Parran,” wrote assistant counsel Jeff Paladina of the Corrections Department.
“Permitting Mr. Parran to engage in a suicidal act by refusing nutrition will cause a significant disruption to the orderly administration of SCI-Fayette. The effects of his death would demoralize the staff and instill the belief in the inmate population that the prison administration caused and permitted Mr. Parran’s death,” the complaint states.
Susan Bensinger, DOC spokeswoman, said the department handles an average of 25 such cases annually. They are reviewed for possible legal intervention when an inmate misses nine consecutive meals, with staff simultaneously counseling the inmate.
Typically, half of the cases “resolve themselves, for whatever reason, before our attorneys need to actually obtain a court order,” Bensinger said.
Parran, formerly of Monroeville, is serving an Allegheny County sentence for robbery and other counts at the 2,000-bed maximum-security prison. Paladina noted in his filing that Parran has gone on hunger strikes while incarcerated at SCI-Somerset in 2010 and in 2012 while incarcerated at SCI-Camp Hill.
During the Camp Hill episode in December 2012, Paladina noted, prison officials took similar action to seek involuntary examination, treatment, nutrition and hydration.
Parran voluntarily ended his hunger strike.
Court documents did not state why Parran went on a hunger strike, but he had filed complaints against officials at SCI-Somerset alleging mistreatment. Those complaints have been dismissed.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or [email protected]. Staff writer Paul Peirce contributed to this report.