HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania inmate who has won a court order freeing him from solitary after 36 years told his lawyer Wednesday he looks forward to simply being with others in the prison yard and taking classes beyond his third-grade education.

Attorney Bret Grote said Arthur Johnson, 64, was “obviously very happy” when told of a federal judge’s recent order to free him.

“He was very grateful and glad that the decision came out the way it did,” Grote said. “We all felt very confident in the strength of our case, and that there was no legitimate basis for keeping him in these conditions for this incredible amount of time.”

U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher Conner on Tuesday gave prison officials and Johnson’s lawyers a week to work out a plan for release from solitary, with a goal of integrating him with the prison’s general population within about three months. Asked about a possible appeal, a corrections official said Wednesday the order was still being reviewed.

Johnson is serving life without parole for the 1970 murder of a man in Philadelphia. Several escape attempts, including one in which a guard was bound and gagged, landed him in isolation, although prison officials have described him as a model inmate over the past 25 years.

Grote said he has no doubt that Johnson has suffered severe effects from living without physical contact with other people for so long. He said Johnson has passed the time by reading and writing, although that has become more difficult because his attention span and short-term memory have declined, which the lawyer attributes to his living conditions.

In solitary, Johnson has been allowed an hour in a caged-in exercise area five days a week, and gets taken in handcuffs to shower three times a week. His 7-by-10-foot cell is illuminated at all hours.

Pennsylvania prison officials say 115 inmates are currently on what’s known as “restricted release,” or longer-term solitary confinement for those segregated from other inmates for chronic disciplinary issues or out of safety concerns. The state also maintains one of the country’s largest death rows – currently 176 men and one woman – in solitary confinement conditions.