By Khalfani Malik Khaldun
The real struggle began for me in 1987 when I entered the infamous Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) as a 17-year old youth. Since its creation, the agents of the state repression in charge of these prison plantations focused on facilitating programs that gave direction toward a journey of change and redemption. Funding from legislative bodies was encouraged by prisoncrats to promote rehabilitation. Today, however, the industrial prison complex has move completely away from rehabilitation. They are heavily more in favor of repression and disconnection. The IDOC has an open practice that when prisoners enter these plantations, or get transferred to other prisons, they are having us moved hundreds of miles away from our own communities. In most cases our families rarely get the chance to visit. If the prison’s objectives are to keep our families together, why move us miles away from them? That is called disconnection by any other name.
There are three main systems that play an invaluable role in a prisoner’s emotional stability, sanity, and rehabilitation. Mail, phone calls, and family visitation has held the family and outside relationships together. Recently, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility began enforcing restrictions upon the visiting area. On August 9, 2018 the tables were removed from the visiting area, as well as the children’s toys that has always been there for visiting prisoners’ families. We can only kiss and hug our family or children once they enter the visiting room and once before they leave.
Our families can no longer purchase something to eat or drink from the vending machines. This takes away from the moment and purpose of visiting loved ones. Having that option has always made the visiting enjoyable and even therapeutic. Our families can now buy up to $30 from the vending machines for us to take back to the cell once the visit is completed.
We can no longer hug one another while having our pictures taken. All of this has been done to minimize the entry of alleged contraband into the facility. The prisoncrats and tyrannical custody staff proceeded with these measures of repression with a total disdain and disregard for how these visiting restrictions would impact prisoners’ families and discourage the energy that accompany them when visiting loved one every 14 days. Children can no longer sit in their father’s laps; they can only be held on the lap of the adult prisoner who brought them in for a visit. They said one warning will be issued to visitors if the child roams around and is not in their lap. They will terminate our visit on a second warning. This benefits the staff person who may be seeking to terminate our visits anyway.
It is obvious that the system is broken here in the state of Indiana. What is happening now is a complete turn-around from advocating rehabilitation. The recent changes are doing much to disrupt any rebuilding process that has to be encouraged in order to heal the relationship between prisoners and our friends, family, and children. This is why it is so important to build our individual and support groups to expose to the public what our own struggles and experiences are inside these walls.
I oppose the new restrictions because no one on my approved visitor list has been investigated or found to have been trafficking contraband into the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility or any other prison in the state. They should not have to be subjected to these new repressive security measures.
When the tables were removed from the visiting room they were replaced with strips of tape on the floor to indicate where prisoners and visitors cannot cross. Holding hands is now banned during the visit and all touching is outlawed by the prisoncrats. Our visitors can no longer eat anything the whole time the visit is in session. How are these restrictions fostering rehabilitation and bringing prisoners and our families together?
In January 2019 I will have been in these plantations for 32 years. This is a factual account of my experiences:
1) Visitation. Pursuant to Policy 02-01-102 (offender visitation) states “The Department of Corrections shall encourage offender communication and contact with family and friends.” They are no longer promoting this policy. Since I entered prison in 1987 visits have played an invaluable role in my physical and emotional survival inside these walls. They have strengthened my relationships and encouraged in me a desire to be re-integrated into society at large.
2) Mail. Letters, cards, pictures, books and magazines have played a great role in facilitating a balanced state of mind. Having incoming mail has always helped me articulate my growth and development. It has helped me create an extended family, since most of my immediate family has unfortunately succumbed to death. All praise be to Allah for sending me this new family.
3) Phone call access. Prison phone calls are robbing prisoners and families. They know we have to communicate, so we will pay to play in so many words. Indiana will soon replace Jpay.com soon with www.globaltel-link.com. My phone calls are extremely important to me. They have helped me stay in touch with new friends and reconnect with friends from my past. We can no longer leave the power of rehabilitation in the hands of the IDOC. It is the responsibility of all Indiana activists inside and outside these plantation walls to create and foster an environment and programs that provide a safety net sustainable to educate and prepare prisoners for a successful transition from the plantation back to home and community.
I am in solidarity with all the efforts being made by the Indiana advocacy groups as well as IDOC-Watch. Love to you for your continued support for my campaign for freedom and survival until I can be re-united with my family. Be sure to read and join us in circulating my new and extensively detailed press releases on the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Power to the people who don’t fear freedom.
Bro. Khalfani Malik Khaldun G-405
(Leonard B. McQuay) 874304
6908 S. Old US Highway 41
PO Box 1111
Carlisle, IN 47838