Hunger Strikers' Water Turned Off!! Update from Wabash Valley SHU Hunger Striker Kwame Shakur
Today we received a call from Kwame Shakur, one of the hunger strikers at the Secure Housing Unit at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, IN. Below is a message he recorded, calling for solidarity and describing the conditions and repressive situation on the SHU. Kwame wanted us to know that as of this morning, the hunger strike is officially on, because according to IDOC policy it’s not a hunger strike until inmates skip 4 meals. So yesterday when hunger strikers skipped 3 meals it wasn’t officially a hunger strike. This morning, when strikers were set to skip their 4th mean, the pigs came through and shut off all the water in the cells, which is both illegal and an intensely repressive measure designed to defeat the strike in its early stages, because having access to water is critically important when you’re on a hunger strike.
Kwame also describes how Jerry Snyder, the unit team manager on the SHU, is lying to people when they call in supporting the hunger strike by telling people that the inmates do have access to commissary. In fact, as Kwame clarifies, the issue is that inmates on the SHU are only being allowed access to a highly restricted and inadequate commissary list, which specifically prohibits them from ordering extra food, warm clothes, and appropriate hygiene products. As it stands now, Snyder is only allowing them access to the extremely minimal hygiene products that are provided to indigent inmates, which are equivalent to a temporary hotel toothbrush and single-use hotel soap bar per month. Additionally, the cells in the SHU are maintained at very cold temperatures, and the meal portions are much too small. As Kwame notes, all of this is designed to increase repressive effectiveness of the Secure Housing Unit, because keeping people cold, hungry, and unable to clean themselves properly is known to be very effective in breaking peoples’ will to resist and gaining control over their minds.
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
Unit Team Manager Jerry Snyder
You will likely not speak to Mr. Snyder, but if you do you can read the script below. If you do not speak with him, you may also leave the script as a message to the secretary or a voicemail.
Script: “I am calling to say that I am aware that several inmates on the Secure Housing Unit are currently on hunger strike and are demanding that they be allowed to order all needed items from commissary. I am in support of these strikers efforts and ask that you follow department policy in this matter. Further, I am aware that correctional officers shut off water in the hunger strikers’ cells this morning in order to repress the strike, and I demand that their water be turned back on. I am greatly concerned for the health and well being of not only the strikers but all inmates on the SHU.”
Please tell us how your calls go!