Report from IDOC Watch on hunger strike that kicked off on July 2nd with info on how to support. To listen to our podcast interview with IDOC Watch, go here.
IDOC Watch has received word that two inmates at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility are currently on hunger strike, protesting the violation of internal policies. The two inmates, Mjoseph Basford #260938 and Simeon Adams #249615 are being held in the Mental Health Segregation Unit of the CCU. Their strike began on July 2nd in response to “cruel, harsh, unfair, and abusive treatment the deputies dish out upon us.”
Basford and Adams detail how meal portions are not reaching the required 2800 calorie per day minimum as well as the violation of policy #02-04-102 pg 18 section P, which state that after 60 days of Disciplinary Segregation offenders are to be permitted Administrative Segregation privileges. These include: religious services, library services, education, recreation, and unrestricted commissary food items. Basford and Adams are requesting that WVCF follow its own policies regarding these matters and that they both be transferred to the mental health segregation unit at Westville where they believe they will not face the same selective treatment.
The issues these inmates bring forward touch on structural problems throughout the IDOC and Wabash Valley especially. The treatment of inmates with mental illness has been the subject of recent litigation between the Indiana ACLU and the IDOC. Indiana courts ruled in 2012 in the case of Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission vs. Commissioner, Indiana Department of Correction that the IDOC was in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by keeping mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement. Just this year, a class action settlement has been reached wherein the IDOC has agreed to not keep “seriously mentally ill” inmates in solitary confinement as well as provide “standard minimum treatment” to these same prisoners. That the IDOC is not holding up its end of the contract is obvious to all who have a loved one facing mental health issues while incarcerated in the state of Indiana. For the last few months, IDOC Watch has encouraged supporters to call Wabash Valley Correctional Facility regarding the ongoing confinement and withholding of treatment and medication from Dennis Kendall. These three inmates are far from an exception.
Additionally, restrictive diets are a universal problem throughout the IDOC. Private corporations like Aramark, which provide food services in Indiana prisons profit by serving food in containers labeled “Not fit for human consumption: for zoo animals and convicts only”. Currently, the administration at Wabash Valley is keeping the temperatures on the CCU where Mjoseph Basford and Simeon Adams are being held unbearably low. The combination of non-nutritious food and harsh environment means that many inmates must turn to commissary items to supplement their diets and caloric intake. Suspending inmates from commissary services is a typical retalialiatory practice for Corrections Officers and is nothing more nor less than consciously enforced starvation.
We believe the condition of Mjoseph Basford and Simeon Adams to be critical and are requesting all supporter to call in to Wabash Valley as well as the IDOC Central Office to voice their concern.
Warden Richard Brown
Commissioner Robert E. Carter
“I am calling today because I am concerned about the well-being of inmates Mjoseph Basford #260938 and Simeon Adams #249615 who are currently on hunger strike. These two inmates have been on strike since July 2nd and are protesting their lack of access to Commissary as well as their insufficient meals. They are requesting to be transferred to the Westville Correctional Unit or in the case of Simeon Adams either Westville or NewCastle. They have indicated that they will not cease the strike until they are transferred. Please see to it that you remedy this matter”