Brother Khalfani Details Oppression in the IDOC
IDOC –Watch Presents: Bridging the Gap
By Khalfani Khaldun
This report is compiled for the purpose of giving the public an inside look into the
illegal/barbaric practices being administered by the Indiana Department of Corrections
(IDOC). As one of the inside coordinators of the IDOC-Watch and survivor of 20 years
in solitary confinement, it is my job to report the truth. We bridge the obvious gap that
exists between society and us when we share with the outside what they are doing to us.
So it begins.
This report will cover three specific topics: 1) Mental illness as a result of solitary
confinement; 2) Policy on staff assaults meant to keep us in prison for life; 3) New mail
policy meant to isolate us from our supporters.
I. Mental Illness and Solidarity
Since the beginning of the incarceration of people, many have been sent to prison already
suffering all kinds of disabilities. Drug addiction and mental illness are among those. The
prison environment is the cause of unavoidable stress upon the body. Then the living
conditions, which are forced upon us, creates a host of psychological issues. These
include nightmares, heart palpitations, “fear of impending nervous breakdowns,”
overwhelming paranoia, aggressive fantasies, and impulse problems.
Never having experienced anything like this prior to incarceration, Amerika, with 5% of
the world’s population, has 25% of its prisoners. Drunk on the need to maintain control
of prisoners’ lives, the oppressors devised a plan. That plan was the birth of solitary
confinement units—never once considering the legal consequences or the effects
isolation would have on prisoners.
The mental pain of solitary confinement is crippling: brain studies reveal durable
impairment and abnormalities in individuals denied social interaction. Plainly put,
prisoners often lose their minds. Two centuries ago, solitary confinement was considered
a humane state of reform. In 1829, Charles Dickens visited Eastern State Penitentiary,
stating: “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be
immeasurably worse than any torture of the body; and because its ghastly signs and
tokens are not as palpable to the eyes and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because
its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear;
therefore, I more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not
roused up to stay.”
Twenty-three years ago the State of Indiana, and the Indiana Department of Corrections
(aka Corruption), placed me in solitary confinement. It was a long journey of survival
that allowed me to be an eyewitness to human deterioration in its highest form. I can
attest to insanity being manufactured by the state to eliminate any and all potential threats
to what they feel were threats to the safety and security of the orderly operations of the
IDOC. They did not anticipate that I would live or still be mentally stable after two
decades in solitary. Ultimately, successful legal litigation compelled my release to
Two successful class-action lawsuits in Federal Court, and a ruling finding the IDOC at
fault for violating prisoners’ 8th amendment right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual
punishment, forced them to open a multi-purpose mental health unit at the Pendleton
Correctional Facility, located in Pendleton, Indiana. The court ordered that all prisoners
suffering severe mental impairment must be removed immediately out of solitary
confinement units across the state.
Suicide inside solitary confinement units were occurring at an alarming rate prior to these
lawsuits reaching the federal courts. Forty-eight percent (10 out of 21) of adult suicides
took place in units that comprise less than 5% of the IDOC’s adult prison population.
Moreover, the suicide records themselves point to the real dangers of solitary
confinement for mentally ill and non-mentally ill prisoners.
Having spent 20 years in solitary confinement, I have been diagnosed as suffering from:
1) Major depressive affective disorder, recurrent; 2) Anti-social personality; 3) Mixed
hyperlipidemia; 4) Benign essential hypertension. Prisoners with this diagnosis can never
be held in long-term solitary confinement ever again. Upon our release, the state of
Indiana is required to pay us disability checks for the rest of our lives.
We at IDOC-Watch must act as an oversight watchdog organization to ensure that these
prisoncrats follow the rules the Court set out for them. As coordinator at Wabash Valley,
I will do the following: 1) Ensure that prisoners’ rights are not being violated. When
violations occur IDOC-Watch will expose it and demand immediate correction. 2) Ensure
that all prisoners who suffer chronic/lasting illnesses such as hepatitis, cancer, diabetes,
high blood pressure, or any severe medical issue receive proper and immediate treatment
and accurate medications. 3) That every prisoner’s religious rights are not violated and
that we support them against discrimination. 4) That we ensure that no staff be allowed to
disrespect us without their actions being exposed to superior staff. 5) That IDOC-Watch
start interviewing active prisoners and networking, with those demonstrating righteous
conduct deserving the support of IDOC-Watch.
II. Staff Assaults on Prisoners Extends Their Stay in Prison
Recently the IDOC (on Feb. 23, 2017) formulated a new policy with Executive Directive
17-09 which states: “This Executive Directive presents and authorizes an expanded
sanction to be imposed against offenders who would do harm to staff.”
In the past 30 years, I have seen and been myself involved in situations where someone
got assaulted. Prison is not a nice place. Those in charge of enforcing policy, rules, order,
and discipline in many cases violate those same policies, rules, and executive directives.
In 2007, while I was still inside the SCU-Unit, I was blatantly manhandled and
disrespected by three prisoncrats (i.e. guards). I responded in self-defense and once it was
over, I was charged with 3 battery charges (internally) on 3 individual officers. They
started it and I ended it. Then they gave me 3 years in disciplinary segregation, plus
deprived me of 3 years of good time, causing me to have my time extended by 3 years.
The new law here in Indiana Courts forcing men and women to serve 85% of their
sentences for violent offenses is causing a spike in violence in Indiana prisons. The
realities encouraged by this new policy 17-09 revokes the past policy that stipulated that
we could earn most of our deprived credit time back. Now, it is likely that you will die in
prison for any violence committed against an officer.
For example, if I have 10 years clear of any negative conduct, one staff assault will cost
me 10 years, causing me to go back to sequence as if I am starting my sentence all over.
That is totally crazy. It is meant as a deterrence, but this policy directive gives officers an
unchecked power to alter our lives forever. We are conducting research to check and see
if all of this is legal or not.
For countless years, prisoners have been targeted by prisoncrats for resisting the abuses
of authority bestowed upon these people. Officers would use a malicious conduct report
to get someone moved to segregation. They would also file to interfere with our earliest
projected release dates. In these directives, they instructed officers filing the conduct
report to be “clear” in the description of the injury or “serious bodily injury.” This way
there was no way that their charges could be refuted—ensuring we will be found guilty
by the conduct board.
We as coordinators and members of IDOC-Watch have to play a valuable role in our
actions to encourage creative alternatives to violence for prisoners so they will not lose
their release dates from prison. Our mission is as follows:
1) To monitor situations involving all conduct reports of staff assaults by prisoners,
with the hope of ensuring that staff is not provoking situations so that they can
disturb prisoner release from prison.
2) To monitor staff conduct to ensure no unchecked behavior is occurring. That they
are not violating the law or the 8th amendment against cruel and unusual
3) We have to educate ourselves, and our comrades, on the many policies and
executive directives that govern issues helping prisoners. For example: Policy 04-
03-103, “Information and Standards of Conduct for Departmental Staff. This is
the one policy that describes the dos and don’ts of all members of the IDOC.
Knowing it has empowered me in many ways, and our classes will teach policy
awareness based on it.
III. New Mail Policy—Extremely Repressive
The IDOC has once again enacted a repressive/directive policy on April 1, 2017, due to
what has been coined an influx, in their words, of synthetic drugs being sprayed on a lot
of incoming mail. I requested to have access to any records from the Office of
Intelligence and Investigations that would show or reveal that this has become a problem.
Their reply was that there was no record of situations of trafficking through the mail. So
we have some current information from them to indicate that the drug issue with the mail
isn’t significant enough to keep records of it.
This policy is responsible for almost crippling my ability to distribute my writing or
receive other printed matter. A lot of cards from my family that I receive yearly have
been confiscated and I had to return them. A lot of people who write me via computer on
no-line typed paper are now not allowed to do so. This is very disappointing and
discouraging to new supporters and friends who for years have used no-line personal
stationary. Somebody writing me for the first time who receives their letter back will be
so disappointed. They may never want to write me again.
We are going to file, and exhaust, every grievance we can to establish a viable claim to
present to the federal courts. They have subjected our families, supporters, friends,
children, companions, etc. to unfair hardship. They are not engaged in pushing any
contraband through the mail system. So from a legal perspective our families, friends and
comrades represent a protected class under the 14th amendment. Collectively, we all
together represent a force. Armed with the right information, we can effectively oppose
this new policy directive. There is not significant enough documentation readily available
to warrant a ban in our incoming mail.
As inside coordinator of IDFOC-Watch and as a founding member, I will promote and
encourage the following:
1) Encourage all comrades and members to educate and study the mailroom policy
so that it is activated and used properly.
2) That any challenge to this policy be denounced for being overtly repressive. That
confiscated letters written on no-line paper be copied and the copy sent to the
prisoner. The original letter can be discarded.
3) That all cards be inspected by whoever is qualified to determine if they contain
synthetic drugs or not. If no drugs are detected, the card should be given to the
prisoner to whom it belongs.
4) That we be allowed to receive printed matter copies of our own personal writings,
i.e., our essays, short stories, poetry, complaints, etc. as long as it is ours.
The benefits of personal collective struggle with an objective to meet a demand, has its
successful rewards. We must not relent. Together as an organization we can expose the
injustice of repressive policies that are meant to be used as weapons against active
prisoners fighting to have our rights respected. Let this be my contribution to bridge the
gap between the inside and outside.
All power to the people! Repression breeds resistance!
Your brother in struggle,
Bro. Khalfani Malik Khaldun
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
PO Box 1111 Cell G-405
Carlisle, IN 47838
Suggested books to read: 1) The Struggle Within, by Dan Berger, 2) 23/7: Pelican Bay
Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement.