Recent Inmate Demonstrations at Indiana State Prison

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Below are two brief accounts of demonstrations organized (or almost organized) by inmates at Indiana State Prison, about abuses and negligence they have been experiencing. Originally published on IDOC Watch.

The first account is from early 2019, and the second is looking back on activity during the summer of 2018. Although the demonstrations and attempted demonstrations did not accomplish much, they point to the possibility of more mobilization, due to the horrible conditions inside ISP.

2/21/19

So yes earlier this month a cell house demonstrated for 2 days. I’m going to break it all the way down for you. So this was around the time that the temperatures outside were in the single digits if not below. Yes, the only phones they are able to use are outside in rec cages, so if you want to use the phone you have to go outside. So the demonstration was over them canceling rec and not having an indoor phone to use. Each range had at one time a cordless phone to use till dummies broke them trying to get the battery out of it, or would hold it hostage, so the Admin took them all. So they were demanding a phone they could use, the 3 Seg range demanded to have a range tender on their ranges because they don’t have one. Another demand was to remove Sgt. Gordon from the unit because a lot of dudes felt like every time she worked, there was bullshit going on and felt like she was problematic.

So the first day demonstration, there was a fire on every range. They ended up shutting off the power and heat to the cell house. When night shift came in, they turned on the power but still no heat.

Day two demonstration, a friend of mine wake up and pull the cover off his head and is in shock to see that the whole cell house is filled with white thick smoke and that the power had been shut off again. Now there is 3 dudes on 300 that are demonstrating so I can hear what’s going on. The cell house is already cold as fuck from having no heat, the ofcs open up the window vents and all the outside doors to clear the smoke out. They left it all open for hours after the smoke done cleared out. They were blatantly at that point freezing them out. So then they the ofcs went to 300 to strip cell and cell extract the dudes who started fires. The dudes hit them with their long light bulbs and threw piss and shit on the ofc. Which they maced the shit out of them then beat on them cell extracting them. The ofcs stripped celled the dudes leaving them with nothing but a pair of boxers they were wearing and their mats. The ofcs put the dudes back into their cells which was still painted with the mace they sprayed on them. So they didn’t feed lunch or dinner till after 6:30 p.m.ish when they night shift came in. The last meal they had was at breakfast at like 4 a.m. So they didn’t eat again till 6:30 p.m. Which I’m not sure how they justified doing that because that’s illegal as fuck! By law we are not suppose to go more than 12 hours from our last meal to breakfast. So if they were fed breakfast at 4 a.m. and didn’t get fed again till 6:30 p.m., that’s in violation.

Those dudes who were stripped cell, I know they had to be freezing. One of them said he cut his mat open and crawled inside. They had nothing, no blankets, nothing. The Admin put 300 on tray restriction for like a week, they’d give us trays and sacks to them. These dudes were kept on strip cell for 5 days, which is also against the law because it’s suppose to stripped for up to 48 hours. On the 5th day of being stripped celled, the Admin gave them a state hygiene kit, a little bar of soap, state shampoo… On the 7th day stripped celled, they gave one of the dudes someone else’s property altogether. When he told them it wasn’t his property, they told him they didn’t know where his property was. They gave him used dingy clothing that wasn’t even his. I’m not sure if he ever got his property back. Things always see to get “lost” or in other words “thrown away”. They “lost” like ¼ of my property last time they put me in seg.

After day 2 of demonstrations, the fight was beat and starved out of them. They (the Admin) are foul as fuck for what they can do and get away with it. After it was all over, I thought about it all. I came to understanding that those dudes went through all that and for what? There was nothing accomplished or changed. The Admin laughed at them and their demands. There was no progress or gain that came out of it. They are still forcing them to go rec to be able to use the phone. Mrs. Gordon still works the cell house, seg ranges still don’t have a range tender. I mean they hoe’d them and ho them everyday.

You know my mother always said it’s amazing how they can treat us the way that they do because if you treated a dog the way they treat us, you’d go to jail. The last time I was in the shower, I noticed how there is black mold growing in cracks and crevices in the shower. So every time I’ve took a shower and will be taking a shower, I’m exposed to something that is deadly and I’m pretty sure causes cancer. But it’s like nobody cares or gives a fuck for our lives in here.

Well I’m going to ed this letter, write when you get the time. Peace and blessing. Love.

-FML

12/10/18

Like 6 months ago, there was like 18 states where the prisons stopped movement in the prisons for like a week demonstrating in protest for better living conditions, food, pay, etc.  It was the sign of unity in them prisons. I would love for us to come together like that in this prison, but it won’t happen easily if at all. The prison has us so divided that we couldn’t make it work because nobody willing to sacrifice.

If we all stayed in our cells refusing to work, the prison would shut down. We do everything that keeps the prison functioning. The laundry, trash, cooking, chemical cleaning distribution, shovel the walks, cleaning/sanitation, etc. And if we don’t move, it forces all the C.O.s to do the job and they don’t have enough staff to do it all. If the prison even pulls other staff from the other bracket/shift, some of them are going to quit ‘cause it’s too much work than they are normally used to. How they have use divided is by the plus program participants and graduates. I went through the plus program at Pendleton, so I know what would happen if we stopped movement. They would go to the plus program and start volunteering dudes to work and if they refuse to volunteer and work, they would kick them out of the program, losing everything they put in trying to complete the program.

That is one of the disadvantages, the other is there is no structure among the gangs. When it comes to trying to accomplish something like this, that is important. When I got to prison 13 years ago, there was a lot more structure, when shit like this went down, we all moved together, brown uniform against blue uniform. Nowadays, there is no structure or a faint resemblance of what was. Over the summer though, a cell house called a meeting at rec. They were trying to come together and demonstrate about the way things were happening. They came up with a plan, the whole cell house, and only go on one side of the chow hall the next day. Some piece of shit snitching ass scumbag who was prolly at that meeting went and told the police everything that was going to happen.

Which the next day they only ran ½ the cell house to chow. Then after locking them back in ran the other ½. Which in a way from the chaotic running of the cell house had frustrated the C.O.s still. But it’s things like that, why we can never come together and unify in this prison. Even if the cause is to better us and our lives, there’s always someone who tell.

– FML


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