Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Indiana Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out

www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[Prison Labor] [Civil Liberties] [Legal] [Private Prisons] [Indiana] [Washington] [ULK Issue 80]
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Campaign to Raise Wages in Geo Group Prisons

It is with immense frustration that I write to you on the behalf of ALL offenders that are in the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) prisons that are run and operated by The Geo Group Inc. (a private prison corporation). Prisoners here are receiving “State Pay,” which consists of the following:

A-Pay $0.25/hour
B-Pay $0.20/hour
C-Pay $0.15/hour

The level of unequal wages from The Geo Group Inc. regarding this effort is appalling. Indiana Government Officials have unfortunately failed to address the problem and have allowed the “State Pay” wage disorder to continue.

In the State of Washington, on 27 October 2021, a Federal Jury ordered The Geo Group Inc. at the ICE Processing Center (formerly the Northwest Detention Center) liable under the State Minimum Wage Act (MWA). In Washington, Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit alleging that The Geo Group Inc. was violating the state minimum wage law. The U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan ordered The Geo Group in Tacoma, Washington to pay their detainees $13.69 hour. These are immigrant detainees. These immigrant detainees were represented by four (4) law firms. Names of the law firms are as follows;

  • Schroeter Goldmark & Bender – Seattle, WA
  • Open Sky Law PLLC – Kent, WA
  • Menter Immigration Law PLLC – Seattle, WA
  • Law Offices of Robert A. Free – Nashville, TN(1)

We believe that our pay here, less than 2% of the pay received in Washington, is discrimination by The Geo Group Inc. here at the Indiana Geo Facilities.

On 26 January 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr (D) signed an order and stated… “to stop corporations from profiting off of incarceration that is less humane and less safe”. We believe that The Geo Group Inc. is violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace. State prisoners may not be entitled to State Minimum Wage, but there is NO exception for private for-profit detainees, prisoners, or offenders here. The Geo Group prioritizes profits over rehabilitation, making us ALL less safe.

Indiana Government Officials and The Geo Group Inc. have to remember that we are in an inflationary economy. Us prisoners here at The Geo Group Inc. facilities here in Indiana are getting overwhelmed, over-worked, and frustrated simply because we do not have the same income or access to resources as others. We have material needs such as hygiene, property, food, etc. that cannot be met due to the “State Pay” wages that have NOT kept up with the exorbitant price of living.

At the Indiana Department of Corrections commissary from the Indiana Correctional Industries Plainfield, IN Distribution Center, the prices of our needs are increasing dramatically due to the inflationary factor. NO prisoner in The Geo Group Inc. private run prison(s) who gets State Pay should ever cower in fear of his/her employer‘s power to silence legitimate points of view of their wages.

The State of Indiana and/or The Geo Group Inc. needs to raise the starting pay wage significantly to a reasonable wage. It is time for the State of Indiana and/or The Geo Group Inc. to make the financial adjustments and changes.

We believe that there are laws, ordinances, policies, rules, acts, statutes, procedures, or even regulations that have been violated or criminalized by our Constitution in the Fair Labor Standards Act (F.L.S.A), Administrator of Wages & Hour Division, U.S. Deptartment of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Labor Management Relations Act, etc. We know Indiana Government officials Governor Eric J Holecomb, Commissioner Robert E Carter Jr, Deputy Commissioner/Chief Financial Officer Dan Brassard, are the individuals who control our scale wage that makes the financial adjustments and changes in our “State Pay” for the The Geo Group Inc. to pay our wages.

A raise in starting pay will be a positive thing allowing more offenders to find satisfaction in their careers and it can allow more workers to make a living wage and contribute to the broader economy. Our facility jobs are not a free pass to wipe our slates clean, they are an acknowledgment that we have to change our lives to be more accountable and the State of Indiana and/or The Geo Group Inc. is what will allow us to do that. A productive offender in the Geo Group facility with a fair wage will perform better work ethics, do things properly, and have better responsibility.

We as prisoners are entitled to be paid minimum wage or a fair wage for our labor keeping The Geo Group Inc. facilities up and running, like preparing and serving food, running laundry, maintenance, landscaping, mowing, sanitation, administration clerks, etc. We are not asking to be put on an indefinite leave of absence means or that ALL Geo Group contracts be terminated. We are exercising our rights, which are workers rights, and show that we have a right to stand up for each other and for justice for Geo Group Inc. prisoners who work at their facility and receive state pay wages.

Please take into consideration, when we do get our “State Pay” the I.D.O.C takes 15% right off the top. This money goes into our re-entry account which we receive back upon our release back into the community. This gives us a little financial assistance. Now here is this Geo Group Inc. offender who has a C-Pay job, which is $0.15 an hour, works 6.5 hours a day, 5-days a week, comes out to be $19.50 per month. Now the State takes 15% for re-entry which comes out to $2.89. This leaves you only $16.32 a week to buy hygiene, property, food, paper, pens, etc. And if you went to go to medical or dental, that’s a $5.00 charge and the medication is $5.00.

Please also investigate the Geo Group Inc. in Tacoma, Washington where they are paying immigrant detainees $13.69 an hour. This is discriminating against us offenders and manipulating us due to what they pay us as “State Pay” here in Indiana.

  • State of Washington Attorney General – Bob Ferguson filed lawsuit against The Geo Group Inc. in 2017 [Washington v. Geo Group, USDC, W. Dist. WA. Case No. 3:17-cv-05806RJB]
  • Detainees filed lawsuit in 2017 with assistance of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender and Robert Andrew Free [Nwauzor v. Geo Group, USDC, W. Dist. WA, Case No. C17-5769RJB]

Thank you for your time and patience.


MIM(Prisons) responds: First, we want to remind our readers that a very small percentage of prisoners in this country are in private prisons, and most of them are immigrant detention centers like the one in Washington discussed. As the author above argues, there are potential legal differences in how labor is considered in private prisons compared to most prisons. And economically it is very different because corporations like Geo Group are making money running prisons for the state, but using basically free labor to do much of that work. This is a very dangerous combination that economically incentivizes mass incarceration.

In our 2018 survey of prison labor across the United $tates we found that wages for maintenance work typically ranged between $0.14 and $0.63 per hour. Though of course in some states prisoners do not get paid at all for working to maintain the prisons. This puts Indiana at the low end of states that do pay. But as this comrade and others have recently pointed out, inflation is hitting hard in the form of commissary prices. Therefore to have wages at the low end from 5 years ago is far from adequate when most prisoners need to buy supplemental hygiene and food, not to mention minor comforts.

Based on the information we can find online, the Geo Group stopped having prisoners work right after the court decision, so no prisoners are getting paid minimum wage. In addition they appealed to delay back-paying those who had already worked in the past.(2)

Notes:
1. Prison Legal News, December 2021 Vol. 32 No. 12 pg. 26 and April 2022 Vol. 33 No. 4 pg. 30. published by the Human Rights Defense Center
2. Alanna Madden, 6 October 2022, Ninth Circuit takes up Geo Group appeal over underpaid detainees, Courthouse News Service.

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[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Florida State Prison] [Pendleton Correctional Facility] [Florida] [Indiana] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 80]
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Woke Prison Officials See Racism Everywhere

The imperialists are crying “racism” to repress prisoner organizing, censoring mail
and punishing those who boycott their patriotic holidays.

Lately there has been a rash of woke mail room staff and prison officials who seem to be able to find “racism” everywhere they look. Under Lock & Key has been censored by a number of these activist employees of the state in Arizona, Indiana and Florida. This is very odd, as most of our readers know we rarely even mention the concept of race as we maintain that it is not a biologically valid concept, so clearly we do not believe or promote ideas of racism or racial superiority. But these snowflakes are just looking for reasons to be offended and use the state to crush free speech and association of the oppressed.

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry - Office of Publication Review gave as one of their reasons for censoring Under Lock & Key 78 as:

“7.2.8 Content that is oriented toward and/or promotes racism and/or religious oppression and the superiority of one race/religion/political group over another, and/or the degradation of one race/religion/political group by another.”

“…The pages identified containing such content are throughout, including, but not limited to, pages 1, 2, 4, 9, 16.”

Page 2 is the same in every issue of Under Lock & Key and is an explanation of what MIM(Prisons) is and how our programs work. We do not promote racism or even discuss race on that page. Page 1, 4 and 9 contain reports on the struggle of Texas prisoners against oppression, and page 16 lists ongoing campaigns, including the one in Texas. It is confusing why Arizona is so worried about this campaign in Texas, and why they would call it “racist.” However, it did advocate boycotting the Juneteenth holiday, which triggered prison staff in Texas to get very repressive.

On 21 November 2022, staff member Chambers of the Indiana Department of Corrections censored Under Lock & Key 79 at Pendleton Correctional Facility. Pendleton has been censoring all mail from MIM Distributors for the last year for spurious reasons. Snowflake Chambers was offended by the spelling of Amerikkka with 3 K’s and decided to label it Security Threat Group material.

Security Threat Group (STG) can be used to prevent materials from entering the prison that facilitate illegal activities by a criminal group (STG). STG cannot be used as an excuse to censor people for their political beliefs. It is our belief that Amerikkka is a white supremacist nation and therefore we spell it with 3 K’s to criticize it as such. This is political speech, and it is legal in the U.S.A.

Florida State Prison (FSP) also deemed Under Lock & Key 79 to be “racist” among other things, on 2 December 2022. We really must go through their reasoning point-by-point for censoring this newspaper as it is quite revealing.

They objected to “Obtaining Copy of Lawsuit on TX Mail Policy BP-03.91” because “our inmates might try this”! The article is literally just telling people where to write and how much to pay to get a copy of a pending lawsuit around Texas mail policies. At this point it seems they’re just rubbing it in our faces to use the most illegal reasons they can to censor us.

FSP employee J.M. Clillen (sp?) goes on to cite “Alabama Prisoners Demand Freedom” because “talking about living conditions”. So that’s illegal now? If we talk about conditions in prisons all of a sudden we’re “racists”?

The one article Clillen cites that does not have a reason with it is “Free Palestine - Join the BDS Movement.” This couldn’t possibly be a threat to security at FSP, and is clearly just demonstrating their support for the Zionist (racist?) state of I$rael.

Finally we get to the “racist” claim, which was made against the article “Conquering My Demons” on page 13. This article is a self-criticism by a USW comrade regarding eir past substance use and misogyny, and a call for all of us to become new, better people. It discusses the resistance of oppressed nations against the imperialists – which is our best guess as to why they labelled it “racist.” Oh, and it also spells Amerikkka with 3 K’s. That’s not racism idiot, that’s a critique of racism.

There are no rights, only power struggles. And it is the oppressed and powerless who are denied rights by the powerful in this racist woke imperialist country.

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[Censorship] [Pendleton Correctional Facility] [Indiana]
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Mail Denial Indiana

I recently had two items confiscated from MIM(prisons); a letter and newspaper. The reasons for confiscation are as follows: Denied II STG Folk Nation Nazi; and denied II 5 PT Star All Seeing Eye “5”. II is the abbreviation for Internal Investigations.

I also wanted to make MIM(prisons) aware of an on going issue we are facing at this facility. There have been several days the past couple months when we were on restricted movement due to (this is what we are told) “Short of staff.” When we are on restricted movements, school and rehabilitation programming are canceled for the day. They said “Short of staff” has also caused in-person visitations from family and friends to be canceled as well, religious services included.

I did not receive much information about the said confiscated mail. I received a copy of an envelope post marked 6 August 2022.

Thank you for the attempted correspondence and being a voice for the struggles we face in prison.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is the latest in a rash of censorship in Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana. We have sent this comrade our censorship guide and appealed this decision with the Indiana Department of Corrections. They provided page numbers and specific reasons for the censorship, but we could not find anything on those pages corresponding to what they describe above.

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[Abuse] [Indiana]
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Harassed and Persecuted for Standing Strong

I've passed out my copies of ULK, I attempt to raise the consciousness of the women around me any time I get a chance to do so whether it be about eating habits, working out, unity, learning the rules and regulations that govern them or how to fight the pigs without being loud or a stereotype. Because of my efforts I've been harassed by the pigs I've been written up for "unauthorized gathering" when it was only 3 of us but if I was playing cards that would've been okay. I've been written up for "inciting a riot." I'm now currently being housed in lock for "battery" although I never even touched anyone, didn't have an argument, nothing. I was also written up for "violating a facility rules" because I was doing sit ups on my bunk. These bastards are doing anything to break me and intimidating me.

Even now it took them 6 days to "locate" my state-issued envelopes, so I could send out mail. Funny how they found em 2 days after me writing different administrative staff about this violation of my rights. This is my 7th day in solitary and I haven't even been formally presented with my charges. The fact they are trying so hard to break me only motivates me. I am the woman they fear will infect those around me, I write grievances and appeals, I work out, I don't read mood books, I don't argue with the pigs or kiss ass, I will never snitch, I don't fear them and I would rather drink rat piss before I ever flirt with one of the red-faced weakass pigs!

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Abuse] [Wabash Valley Correctional Facility] [Pendleton Correctional Facility] [Indiana]
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Censorship and Grievance Denials in Indiana

Enclosed you should find Under Lock & Key number 14. I am returning it to you because prison staff disallowed it's delivery to me and confiscated it stating 1)"contains information about performing work stoppages" and 2) "photos of dead klan members (cartoons)."

Apparently the issue was confiscated in May/June 2010 while I was housed at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (PCF). I was not notified of the confiscation until July 12, 2011. I was transferred from PCF in November 2010 to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (WVCF). PCF staff forwarded the confiscated mail (almost a year after receipt) to WVCF staff. WVCF staff notified me of the confiscation.

I have attempted to challenge this confiscation via the offender grievance process. However, WVCF case manager Marty Hale refuses to provide me with a grievance form. On August 9 he responded to my request by becoming irate and yelling at me, "fuck your grievance... every time an issue comes up you want to file a grievance, fuck you... you're just a sniveling complaining bitch", "you bitch", and "stick a grievance up your ass." To date I am still being denied a grievance form.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons in Indiana are blatantly violating what few rights they tell us prisoners have, both with their illegal censorship and failure to notify both MIM(Prisons) and the prisoner of this censorship, and by denying this comrade the ability to file a grievance. By documenting such abusive denials to grieve we can continue to expose their sacred grievance system for what it really is, a sham. Even if the public buys it, all prisoners need to understand what it means to file a grievance and what it takes to change conditions in prison.

This is the inspiration behind the current campaign to Demand Our Grievances Be Addressed, currently active in California, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Write to us for a copy for your state, or if one does not yet exist, help create one by researching the citations and policies specific to your state and we will type it up and get it circulated.

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[Control Units] [Indiana]
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Unlock the Box survey - Indiana

These are two prisons that have designated cells where prisoners are in solitary confinement for at least 22 hours a day with no congregate dining, exercise or other services.

1. Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Secure Confinement Unit, PO Box 111 Carlisle, IN 47838

2. Maximum Control Facility, PO Box 557, Westville, IN 46391

I have been in both and the following statistics apply to both prisons:

There are around 250-330 prisoners
It is around 48% white and 48% Black and 2% Latino
The units opened 15-20 years ago
Prisoners have been abused physically by offers in the past
Prisoners are regularly subject to humiliation and refusal of showers

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[Control Units] [Indiana]
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Indiana prisoners fight SHU

My comrades and I have just recently won a battle to get out of the SHU unit here in Indiana. We won it through appeals and are now back in the general population. Our release is just a drop in the bucket, though, considering that no one should be subjected to such torments and inhumane treatment. Where some would be happy with gaining their own releases, I will only be happy when the SHUs are abolished. So until that time I must continue to work towards this goal.

Keep in the struggle

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[Control Units] [Westville Correctional Facility] [Indiana]
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WESTVILLE'S MAXIMUM CONTROL COMPLEX

I have received the 1/95 issue of your newspaper [MIM Notes]. I love the way it's written. I enjoyed reading the letters the prisoners wrote and sent in plus your answers. I hope to keep reading your paper and hope you keep sending them to me. I probably will be out of prison by September 1995. I've been locked up since October 1992.

This is a Maximum or SuperMax prison. We're only allowed an hour or half hour out of our cell or closet cellbox a day. Plus they have the goon squad or the extraction team. They come in your cell and beat you up and strap you down to your bed if you act like the man you are or don't want to make your bed up or kick on the door - little things like that. You can't get out of your cell unless they let you out. Everything here works by electricity.

If a person caught a heart attack or something serious, he can hang it up because you have to be handcuffed behind your back before you can leave the cell. Plus leg shackles. And they're so scared of you that they get all suited up before they come get you.

That is just a bit of what's going on at this concentration camp. If you ever truly want to know what's going on down here, let me know.

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