Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Carlisle, Indiana
August 27, 2018-August 30, 2018
Several inmates in the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility initiate a hunger strike in protest of food quality, the temperature of their cells and other conditions. Ike Randolph of the Indiana Department of Correction confirms that seven prisoners at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility began a hunger strike on August 27.
The group IDOC Watch releases a statement about the strike:
Food portions are extremely small, imagine a high school lunch tray where the section for your main course isn’t even half full. The food they receive is already lacking in nutrition and comes in boxes labelled “not for human consumption.” Food services in the IDOC are managed by the private corporation Aramark, and food served to inmates lacks basic nutritional value and is often served rotten. To make matters worse, Corrections Officers are known to contaminate food with saliva and feces.
The SHU is kept extremely cold in order to limit inmates activity and keep them in their beds. Their bodies burn calories to keep warm that can’t even be replaced by the meager meals they are given.
Wabash’s Valley’s Secure Housing Unit is the end of the line for prisoners facing abuse by the IDOC. It is the most extreme form of isolation, sensory deprivation, mental and physical torture that the prison system can offer. Some inmates are kept under 24/7 video and audio surveillance. They are unable to order items from commissary and must subsist on the crumbs they are given. The SHU has a notorious history of unspeakable abuse against inmates. In the 1990’s its commander James Basinger oversaw a cabal of sadisitc guards that engaged in daily torture and even murder of the inmates in their custody. Today, James Basinger is the Deputy Commissioner of the IDOC, extending his techniques throughout the whole system.
According to IDOC Watch, the hunger strike is terminated on August 30 due to repression from the IDOC. From their statement:
“We have learned that Wabash Valley from day one moved swiftly to repress the strike. On Monday morning Internal Affairs ordered a lieutenant on the SHU to file disciplinary reports against the hunger strikers. IA is charging these inmates with a class B violation “Inmate Demonstration/Work Stoppage” and claims that social media posts led them to this determination. What this amounts to is a flagrant violation of policy by IA and Wabash Valley. It is within the stated rights of inmates to refuse meals and further they cannot be charged with disciplinary action for the work of supporters on the outside.”
According to IDOC Watch, the prisoners initially began refusing food without knowing of the nation-wide prisoner strike. After learning about the national action they declared their solidarity with it.
“Urgent: Hunger Strike at Wabash Valley”, IDOC Watch, August 27, 2018.
“No One Knows How Big the Prison Strike Is, But Organizers Are Already Calling It a Success“, Mother Jones, August 29, 2018.
“Wabash Valley Violates Policy to Suppress Hunger Strike“, IDOC Watch, August 30, 2018.