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Pennsylvania DOC Bans Timberland Boots; Prisoner Files Suit Seeking Injunction

by Monte McCoin

On April 30, 2018, Pennsylvania prisoner Jamal Washington filed a lawsuit to prevent a ban on leather Timberland boots at all state prisons. His suit seeks an injunction because, he contends, the boots are needed for warmth during the winter months.

“Most of the DOC’s facilities are situated in mountainous regions, which calls for proper footwear to combat the harsh winter elements,” he stated in his complaint.

Pennsylvania prison officials announced the ban in February 2018 in response to the death of SCI-Somerset Sgt. Mark J. Baserman, 60. Baserman died 11 days after he was attacked by prisoner Paul Jawon Kendrick, 23, who was wearing heavy boots when he kicked the guard multiple times in the head.

According to news reports, Kendrick lashed out at Baserman after the guard confiscated a towel that Kendrick had used to block the view of his bunk. After Baserman fell to the ground following eight to 10 punches to the head, Kendrick began kicking him. Another guard who tried to assist Baserman also was injured during the incident.

Pennsylvania DOC officials said Baserman was the first state prison guard to be killed by a prisoner in nearly 40 years. The attack was captured on video.

The Somerset County District Attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty against Kendrick, who has been charged with murder, criminal homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and assault by a life prisoner. 



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