Private Contractor Accused of Skimping on Prisoner Food

This is from the In These Times series The Prison Complex, by George Lavender
Jan. 30, 2014

  When prisoners in the segregation unit at Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana received their lunch trays last Tuesday, it was, for some of them, a small taste of victory. While “savory stroganoff with noodles, mixed vegetables, and enriched bread” might not seem like much, the prisoners say it was their first hot weekday lunch in months, except on holidays. For the previous week, dozens in the unit had been protesting what they saw as inadequate food by refusing the cold sack lunches provided by the prison, according to two inmates who spoke to In These Times on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal from the prison.

“A lot of people didn’t believe that we could win,” says “Jela,” (not his real name), one of the prisoners involved in the protest. “We proved them wrong.”

Barring holidays, prisoners in the maximum security unit had been receiving sack lunches instead of the usual hot meal, five days a week for approximately seven months. Indiana Department of Corrections (DOC) Public Information Officer John Schrader says the switch to the sack lunch program was a response to requests from some prisoners, and was an effort to speed meal times and free up more time for recreation and showers.

But “people were losing weight, people were not getting the proper nutrients and calories,” charges “Malik,” another prisoner in the unit, who also asked to be identified by a pseudonym. Each bag contained slices of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and a cookie—“not enough,” according to Malik and Jela.

In response, say Jela and Malik, prisoners began making dozens of complaints about the program, which they say went unheeded. So more than 40 inmates took part in the protest, which was inspired by prisoner actions in California and Georgia, and organized by shouting between rec rooms.

Read the rest here.


Voices Against Injustice will conduct a protest at CCA prison Marion County Jail II


Thursday, March 4, 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Marion County Jail 2
Street: 730 E. Washington
City/Town: Indianapolis, IN

Every day that the NYSE is open for business, they trade stocks and bonds based on the population of privatized prisons. This is nothing less than modernized slavery with no regard for anymore for race (even though the statistics don’t lie that African-American Men represent 14% of the US Population, yet they account for 40% of the prison population). It would appear that the prime commodity for the booming business of the privatized prison industry would be the young black male.

Do you not see the similarity between the black and white stripes of the prison uniform and the UPC barcodes places on the goods we purchase in the stores? Human beings have been reduced to commodities. Prisoners are no longer humans, they are goods owned by each state to be traded. When I was a prisoner in Michigan, I was told I was no longer Heidi Marie Rogan… I was inmate #238631. I was no longer my own person, I was property of the State of Michigan. I was given a Class A ticket because I pierced my nose. The offense: damaging state property. My bunkie received a ticket because she fell asleep on the yard in the summer sun and received a sunburn over her body and needed medical treatment for it. Her offense: damaging state property. Rude awakenings. We were no longer humans. We were property. I worked at a landfill. I picked up garbage at a garbage dump for $1.85 a day. Not an hour. A day.

This is not even where the big money comes in though. Prisons around the United States are manufacturing products that some of you have in your own home. They are manufacturing clothing that some of you may be wearing on your body at this very moment. These prison factories are manufacturing clothing, pallets, furniture, cleaning supplies, and more. Ironically, the inmates manufacture the very steel doors that keep them locked inside the walls. They do all of this for way below minimum wage, receiving a daily wage rather than an hourly wage. Some states claim to have become “progressive” since they are now paying a minimum wage to their prisoners. I see this as a move made simply to appease the masses and shut the grumbling mouths of the enlightened up. At the risk of sounding like I am spewing forth rhetoric, this seems to be the move of the sharecropper.

On March 4th, 2010 Voices Against Injustice is standing against this insanity. Marion County Jail II is a privatized jail managed by CCA. We will be in front of this facility raising our artistic voices of intellect against this insanity. After a short informative speech, we will then move over to Urban Element. We have an ACLU attorney who is investigating the constitutionality of the permit laws within Marion County. A massive amount of Indianapolis’ vocal artists are coming out to support this cause including: Nsaychable, Souled Out, Gabby, Tony Styxx, Bashiri Asad, and more. Many performers will be coming from out of state as well, traveling from as far as Ohio and Mississippi. Due to the length of the ACLU’s battle with the city on this event, our keynote speaker’s will not be able to make until our event that will be held in June, which we are greatly looking forward to which will be discussed the night of the 4th.

Please plan to be there. We need many volunteers to help coordinate this massive front to fight this issue. If you have any questions about this, please send Heidi an email: sahabah2007 at