During the Vanderburgh County Jail Blue Ribbon Committee meeting on April 2, various groups and individuals spoke out against increasing the jail's capacity and continuing to criminalize and incarcerate people in the county.
A member of Evansville Letters to Prisoners (ELTP) pointed out racial and class disparities between the members of the jail committee and those they are incarcerating. The speaker highlighted ways in which the committee members spoke about prisoners, including referring to prisoners covering fluorescent lights above their beds while they slept as "vandalism." The ELTP representative read an excerpt from a letter from a local inmate and mentioned conversations with locals about the fluorescent lights at the Vanderburgh County jail and their strategies for dimming them. "People talk about taking stickers off deodorant, taping books up to the lights, and things like that, and I think that's a sign of resilience and creativity and how strong humans are, rather than just a problem of vandalism or people not being compliant...I think it makes a lot of sense that inmates wouldn't want a fluorescent light above their bed while they are trying to sleep."
Rather than fixing "little things" in increasing the capacity of the jail, the ELTP representative said now is an opportune time "to look to abolitionist strategies." "Abolition," according to the group Critical Resistance, is "a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment."
Di Lucid is a 19-year-old rapper from Evansville who just released a new album called Constellations on November 9th. We were intrigued after seeing him perform at PG one night and decided to catch up with him and learn a little more about his life. When we met up, we talked about the new album, coming up as a white kid in a mostly black hip-hop crew, seeing his friends go to prison, living with mental illness, and about the Evansville hip-hop scene as he sees it.
Di has a show coming up with Kelo Kaddafi and Ali Buckets on January 6th at PG. Don't miss it.
Camera Cells: Tools of Retaliation and Psychological Torture at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
By Shaka Shakur, Indiana Prison Rebel
The Secure Housing Unit (SHU) at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana, which is also called the Secure Confinement Unit (SCU), is a 288 bed supermax control unit facility where prisoners are locked down 23 hours a day on both administrative segregation and disciplinary segregation status. The unit is comprised of 4 pods. Each pod is broken down into 4 ranges that each have 12 cells, divided by 2 tiers per range.
Evansville Courier & Press (IN) - October 18, 2009
Author/Byline: GAVIN LESNICK, STAFF WRITER Section: Metro Page: A1 Correction: Pub. 10/20/09 - A report on Page A1 of Sunday's Courier & Press contained an error. The Evansville Police Department agreed to provide a copy of former officer Martin Montgomery's department photo.
Martin Montgomery had the makings of a promising career on the Evansville Police Department.
Still fairly new to the force and assigned to the West Sector night shift, Montgomery, a Gibson County native, already had made a name for himself among his peers and supervisors.
In 2007, a little more than a year after being sworn in alongside 10 other new hires, Montgomery helped save a man who tried to hang himself from a tree. Montgomery hoisted him while a police sergeant untied the noose - an act that would earn both officers merit awards.
And in October 2008, Montgomery's good police work again caught the eye of his supervisors: He was named Officer of the Month for locating and then chasing a car driven by suspects in a home invasion robbery.
But only weeks after those arrests were made, Montgomery is alleged to have transformed from cop to criminal, using his power and position to assault two women he encountered while patrolling.