Note: PRC encourages the use of person first language whenever possible in referring to people with justice involvement, and people in general. To learn more, click here.
Danielle Calabro had not heard from her younger brother, Christopher Hinkle, in a few days. Then, on April 12, she received a life-changing phone call: Hinkle, 37, had been arrested on drug charges and placed in a Philadelphia jail, where he had been badly beaten.
When she finally saw him at Jefferson-Torresdale Hospital, Calabro said it was “a horrific, horrific scene.”
“It looks like he went through an extremely traumatic experience,” she said. ”He’s currently fully paralyzed, in a medically induced coma, and his prognosis to live is extremely poor.”
Doctors advised the family to plan for end-of-life care, she said. If he should die, Hinkle would be the fifth man allegedly beaten to death by a cellmate in a city jail since August.
It’s the latest instance of what staff and observers say is a mounting crisis at Philadelphia jails, where the population has increased to 4,718. The jails have been effectively in lockdown since the start of the pandemic. They’ve also been in civil-rights litigation, and are under court order to let people out of their cells at least three hours a day.
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