Less than an hour after his publicist stood on the steps and compared him to Brett Kavanaugh, Tupac and Jesus, comedy legend and convicted rapist (no, the two are not mutually exclusive) Bill Cosby was put in a single cell inside the brand-spanking new correctional facility where staff have been accused of hate crimes and abuse, and at least one inmate has died since the prison opened in July.
Located on 164 acres 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia in Collegeville, Penn., the Phoenix State Correctional Institution (SCI Phoenix) is a sprawling new maximum security facility that costs taxpayers $400 million dollars (coincidentally, not enough to purchase NBC). The new facility boasts a basketball court, a laundry room, chapel and 3,830 beds, 192 of which are dedicated to a female transitional unit focused on reentry and family unification, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
There are no reports of prisoners welcoming Cosby by singing: “It’s a different woooorld than where you come from!” and prison officials say their long-term goal is to acclimate the 81-year-old to the general population. Although the vast majority of SCI Phoenix cells are double occupancy, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Cosby received a single cell in the prison where he will likely spend the entirety of the minimum three years he must serve before he is eligible for parole.
While officials have curiously remained mum on whether they will allow Cosby to use his medical degree from Hillman when he practiced as an OB/GYN under the pseudonym Heathcliff Huxtable, the loathsome bartender/pharmacist will be assigned a job inside the prison. According to court documents, Cosby’s punishment includes court costs of $43,611.83. Here is a tour of Cosby’s new mansion:
Since opening, SCI Phoenix guards have subjected the inmates to abuses including racial slurs, graphic images drawn on photos of loved ones and the desecration of religious items. The Inquirer reported in April that the correctional officers committed a series of “hate crimes:”
Henry Goodelman said his uncle, inmate Jonathan Margoles, found his tefillin — an item used by some observant Jews during prayer — confiscated. Danny Liptrot, a Muslim inmate, said in a letter that his prayer rug and kufi cap were stolen. “They replaced it with a nude picture of a woman, and an athletic supporter,” he wrote.
Anthony Wright said in a letter that his watch and several other possessions were missing, and that “swastikas and derogatory images” were drawn on his photos.
“I just think,” he wrote, “even an animal deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The vast majority of SCI Phoenix’s inmates were transferred from the state prison at Graterford, about a mile down the road from the new facility. Between Graterford and SCI Phoenix, at least six inmates have committed suicide inside the walls of the two prisons in 2018 alone.
But suicides aren’t the only thing that made Graterford deadly. It is Cosby’s new housemates, too. In January, 68-year-old Arthur Phillips was found dead in his Graterford cell after he was convicted of deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years old. Although Phillips attorney said he did not seem “overly depressed,” prison officials ruled the death as a suicide.
In February, 31-year-old Christopher Stephon Gilchrist was mysteriously found dead in his cell at Graterford; Gilchrist was incarcerated after he was convicted of helping two corrections officers plan an attack on another inmate. The officers planned to leave the cell open so Gilchrist could attack an “unruly” prisoner, according to the Daily Local.
Just three days later, another sex offender, Isaac De Jesus, 37, was found “unresponsive” in his cell at Graterford. DeJesus was serving a sentence for indecent assault on a juvenile, according to Pennsylvania’s DOC.
Prison guard Mark Baserman was beaten to death by 22-year-old inmate Paul Kendrick in February, according to Fox News, the first correctional officer death in a Pennsylvania state prison since 1979, which also happened at Graterford.
In 2016, Christopher Ganues, a guard at Graterford, was convicted of institutional sexual assault after he forced an inmate at Graterford to have sex with him, according to the Daily News.
All of Graterford’s staff now works at SCI Phoenix.
The Root cannot confirm whether or not Cosby asked some inmates to pull their pants up.