Ethical Lapses at a Pittsburgh Correctional Facility

The responsibilities which are invested in our correctional institutions and the officers which preside over them align directly with the ethical impetus upon our society to punish, imprison and rehabilitate criminal offenders. Thusly, a corrections facility is part of the larger network of structures and entities intended to Maintain Social Order. Therefore, when a lapse in ethical orientation occurs and is demonstrably the fault of officers at such a facility, it may be said that damage has been done to its capacity to protect said social order. Most assuredly, this occurred at the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, where widespread allegations of sexual abuse by correctional officers against inmates have now instigating the U.S. Justice Department to launch a full scale civil investigation.

The events which transpired in the Pittsburgh correctional facility represent a systemic, sustained and largely concealed culture of abuse, neglect and the exploitation of power dynamics on the part of personnel.

That these individuals were initially charged with a service intended to uphold the letter of the law and, consequently, were therefore empowered to a certain degree of operational autonomy in doing so, suggests that in addition to a dereliction of duty, the individuals in question were responsible for undermining the terms designed to maintain social order. According to the charges levied against correctional officers, guards used their authority to violate the rights of inmates rather than to provide a stable correctional environment. As a consequence, “In September, former correctional officer Harry Nicoletti, 59, of Coraopolis, was charged with 92 counts including institutional sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault. Prosecutors and two civil lawsuits have portrayed Mr. Nicoletti as the ringleader of a cabal of correctional officers who preyed on inmates who.

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