Testimony from Indiana

Aaron Isby #892219
(WVCF A-701 SCU)
P.O. Box 1111
Carlisle, IN 47838

Forum For Understanding Prisons (FFUP)

I do hope that this letter reaches you in the best of health. It is my intention to explain the ongoing abusive treatment being inflicted upon me and those being held in solitary isolation at the infamous Secure Housing Unit (SHU) at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, Indiana.
On October 23, 2006, with a hearing or charge, I was removed from the prison's general population, and isolated in the SHU. This occurred three weeks after I had been released from the segregation unit at Westville Control Unit following my completion of a six-month term. There was no justification to isolate me in the SHU. I was placed here and continue to be held in solitary confinement because of my long history of litigation (writ writing), complaint filings and as a way to frustrate my constitutional rights to obtain legal redress from the courts on my wrongful and illegal custody. The IDOC officials are attempting to keep those who support my cause and the public from knowing my plight and issues, as well as prevent widespread sympathy from those on the outside. I am being held under a status IDOC officials call, "Departmental-wide Administrative Segregation." In order for one to be on this status, he must demonstrate an extraordinary security concern. There is no evidence that I meet this criteria. I've never been involved with drug trafficking, riots, hostage crises or takeovers, nor am I a leader of a gang, etc. The IDOC is claiming that my past conduct (that I was already punished for) is the reason I was placed on this status. The conduct reports being used are anywhere from ten to twenty years old. IDOC officials are punishing me for the case that I was convicted of in the Madison County Circuit Court. I have spent over 17 years in solitary confinement, including more than three years in this SHU for a Case that I was convicted of and sentenced for in Madison County Circuit Court. Isn't this double jeopardy or an ex post facto violation?
I truly need your help in gaining my release and transfer out of this facility. We are being subjected to non-consensual scientific experimentations of physical and psychological torture IN THIS SHU. I assert that on the watch and with the implicit and explicit approval of Edwin Buss, J. Wynn, J. Basinger, Major Russell, Lt. King, and various food and medical staff, we are subjected, deliberately and without any possible justification, to extraordinarily harsh, or restrictive and potentially harmful conditions of detention, which is causing me considerable physical and psychological pain and suffering. Although the state agents herein and those working in concert will deny it, I believe that certain, as well as our (my) conditions as a whole at the SHU or supermax violates our (my) human, civil and constitutional rights and amounts to torture and crimes of genocide. The violations or ill treatment of those of us housed in the SCU (SHU) include, but are not limited to the following:
The SHU serves no penological purpose or justification. It is a Unit being used by state prison officials and their agents herein for the sole purpose to met out their vengeance against those who they find undesirable and to disable these men through spiritual, psychological and physical breakdown. In carrying out this objective, we are subjected to prolonged and indefinite solitary isolation and sensory deprivation, which is used as a weapon of behavior modification and torture against us.
The conditions that contribute to our abuse are the arbitrary placements and indefinite retentions in solitary confinement without any objective means for release. The decisions as to whether a prisoner is transferred out of SHU rests exclusively on the subjective judgment of staff. Although we have no contact with each other or other human beings (except for the prison guards during escorts), we have been commonly subjected to a practice of routine sexual harassment, dehumanization, humiliation and abuse.
Some SHU guards have singled out selective prisoners, without any reasonable suspicion (belief), to strip stark naked and make them spread their buttocks before they could go to solitary outdoor recreation in the SHU pens. These unreasonable searches have been used as weapons of retaliation, punishment, intimidation and a means of behavior modification against those of us who are followers of the Islamic and Hebrew Israelite faith, and those of us who file complaints or lawsuits.
We are being subjected to secret drugging of our food, forced to drink contaminated water and intentional nutrition and food deprivation tactics as behavior and thought control measures to punish and torture us against our will. As a result of these calculated measures, 90% of us on this unit are suffering from severe weight loss and deteriorated health. I have lost forty pounds.
Because of my many complaints about the tampering of my food by SHU guards, on 11/7/09, one officer was given instructions to single me out for harassment. At supper time this officer was distributing meals when he reached my range (701 A-West SCU) and intentionally left my food tray in the hallway so that other staff could tamper with it. He gave trays to the other prisoners in cells 702-706. I asked officer Mohmed why he didn't give me a tray. He responded, "Your tray is sitting in the hallway. You will get it later." When I received my tray it appeared as if someone had been playing with my bread and cookie. The next day (11/8/09) at breakfast, another officer the same act with my breakfast tray. When I confronted him about it he told me to "Stop crying," and that if I continued to complain I would not get fed.
It is obvious that someone is instructing these guards to nit pick and target me because these crimes of abuse are continuing to escalate. I have filed over 300 complaints since I've been on this unit. Officers Thomas and Mohmed have been among the many staff that I have brought racial harassment complaints, etc., against.
The rampant institutionalized racism, cronyism and nepotism that permeates the hidden confines of this unit has allowed these staff to commit these violations with a license.Our lights in our cells stay on 24 hours a day as a weapon to punish, torture and modify our behavior.
They use the air conditioner and exposure to extreme outdoor weather during the fall and winter months as weapons of torture and behavior modification. We are commonly left shivering in our cells under this refrigeration.
We are experiencing routine reading and searching of our incoming and outgoing legal and personal mail, as well as systematic withholding and rifling of our incoming and outgoing personal and legal mail by staff as a means to inflict sensory deprivation, retaliation and behavior modification. I have not been allowed to write or receive letters from various family and friends on the outside for the past three years. We are not allowed any opportunity to develop social bonds or emotional support structures with our fellow prisoners or our families.
Due to the limited phone access and the draconian practice of video-only visitations, my ability to communicate with my family and friends in the outside world is virtually non­existent. For the past three years I have been denied all phone calls to my family and friends. Officials here have placed restrictions on all of my phone numbers to prohibit me from calling out to my family.
We do not receive adequate health care. The health care that is provided to us is substandard at best. I am supposed to get a chest x-ray every three years. When I question the medical staff here they claim that they have no knowledge of this information, even though it is reflected in my medical records.
Our access to education, worship (especially those who adhere to non-Christian religions) and vocational training are extremely limited or non-existent. We are denied monthly idle pay. We are frequently subjected to entrapment and petty power plays, verbal harassment and antagonism by guards and staff.
I am not allowed due process of law. I have not been allowed to file grievances on many occasions. When we are allowed to complain nothing is ever done. The grievance procedure here is useless and for most of us has been suspended.
These punitive conditions and allegations of ill treatment herein are not accidents but instead are accepted practices of torture by these state officials who use them to intentionally cause us unnecessary pain and suffering that is geared to ultimately destroy or profoundly disrupt my human capacity, senses or personality. I assert that many aspects of the SHU conditions are tortuous and exceed what is required to meet reasonable security or other penological goals.
By choosing to subject hundreds of SHU prisoners to prolonged periods in extremely harsh and potentially harmful conditions that cannot be justified as reasonably necessary to ensure security or serve the legitimate goals of punishment, the state officials herein have violated the prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, non-consensual scientific or medical experimentations contained in the international covenant on political and civil rights, as well as the United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The state of Indiana's commitment under the charter of the United Nations is clearly being violated herein. Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of genocide, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948, defines genocide as "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" or deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part and any intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethical, racial or religious group. I feel the U.S. government would certainly recognize these human rights violations herein if these men in SHU were held in any other country. I further assert that people on the outside should demand a full investigation of our conditions of confinement by the U.S. Department of Justice who has jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §1997, the Torture Victim Protection Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242, 1702 and 1708 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000, sections 2 and 3.
I want to point out to the public that these SHU experiments , involving prolonged or indefinite solitary isolation, psychological and physical torture against us raises serious cultural, legal, political and ethical questions for the same reasons that the human radiation and biochemical experiments conducted on Oregon state prisoners from the 1940s to the 1970s were found to be troublesome. I need the public to urge the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene on my behalf, and also urge Edwin Buss and J. Wynn, of the Indiana Department of Corrections, to transfer me out of this prison to ensure my safety and to ensure that I am no longer retaliated against for speaking out about these hidden crimes.
It must be made clear to IDOC officials that the continued abuse by their SCU (SHU) staff will not be tolerated by the public!

Spread the word .
Aaron Isby-Israel#892219
A-701 SCU (SHU)
P.O. Box 1111
6908 S. Old U.S. Hwy 41
Carlisle, IN 47838

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