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Inmate objects to ‘escape risk’ label

Hardin serving time for emails threatening bomb, poisoned water

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A state prison inmate has asked Blair County Judge Timothy M. Sullivan to order the release of prison documents that he can use to challenge his designation as an “escape risk.”

Adam C. Hardin, who is serving six to 15 years in connection with sending emails in 2013 that made bomb threats and claimed Hollidaysburg’s water supply was poisoned, said his designation as an escape risk has cost him a snow shoveling job.

The designation also prohibits Hardin from attending a large banquet held annually at the State Correctional Institution at Albion, even though Hardin said that banquet is held in an area where he and other inmates eat every day.

Hardin, who participated in a court hearing on Thursday via video from SCI Albion, said he has already exhausted the state prison’s grievance procedures to challenge the escape risk designation.

So in turning to Sullivan, Hardin asked for an order directing SCI Albion to release his file to him. And he asked the judge to direct the state prison to release portions of its policy manuals addressing the classification of inmates as an escape risk.

Hardin said he needs those policies to determine if they’re being followed.

In responding, Sullivan said he wanted to first talk with state prison personnel so the order he issues can be worded to avoid prison security issues.

“It sounds to me like you’re entitled to the documents,” the judge said. “But I wouldn’t compel SCI Albion to disclose something that would expose their security risks.”

Assistant District Attorney Derek Elensky told Sullivan that he spoke with SCI Albion personnel about Hardin’s designation as an escape risk.

“That doesn’t mean he’s been convicted of an escape charge,” Elensky said. “It means there’s a concern that he’s an escape risk.”

When Sullivan asked Hardin about his intended use of the documents, Hardin said he would use them to question SCI Albion personnel about the designation he believes he’s been wrongly assigned. And if rejected again, Hardin said he would look for another option.

Sullivan offered no direction for a higher-level pursuit.

“I’ve never had a request like this during my 14 years on the bench,” Sullivan said.

Hardin was found guilty in 2015 on charges of tampering with a public water system, threatening to utilize weapons of mass destruction, terroristic threats, unlawful use of a computer and criminal use of a communication device.

As a former Army National Guardsman with nearly 800 hours of computer training, Hardin acknowledged using his training to bypass the firewall in the Blair County Prison’s law library, which was supposed to keep inmates from accessing the internet.

While the threatening messages came from the law library’s computer, Hardin denied being the sender.

When sentenced, Hardin was ordered to pay $29,000 for costs incurred to ensure that the bomb threats were bogus and that local water supplies were safe.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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