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ACLU helps 6 prisoners file lawsuits citing ‘brutal’ conditions at central Indiana prison

A satellite view of Miami Correctional Facility near Bunker Hill, Indiana, in 2021. (Image Provided/IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA Farm Service Agency via Google)

BUNKER HILL, Ind. (WISH) — Lawsuits filed against a central Indiana prison claim men were held in pitch-black isolation units for all but one hour a day, leading to injuries from dangling electrical wires, broken glass and windows, and extreme cold.

One prisoner, Gerald Reed, 50, was injured when a 100-pound light fixture fell and struck him in the head, his lawsuit alleges.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed lawsuits on behalf of the six men currently at Miami Correctional Facility. That’s located about 50 miles north of Indianapolis off U.S. 31. The prison is adjacent to the U.S. Grissom Air Reserve Base.

The other five prisoners filing lawsuits are William H. Anderson, 34; Charles Lyons, 31; Anthony Parish, 31; Jeremy Blanchard, 41; and Jeffrey W. Wagner, 37. Their lawsuits allege “prison officials were aware of these inhumane and decrepit conditions, and yet failed to repair these hazards or mitigate the harms they were causing,” said a news release on the ACLU’s website.

According to copies of the lawsuits on the website, all but Blachard’s lawsuit were filed July 1. Blachard’s was filed March 5.

According to prison records:

  • Reed was sentenced in June 1996 for attempted murder in Marion County. His earliest release date is in January 2034.
  • Anderson was sentenced in August 2012 for drug charges in Boone County. His earliest release date is in April 2022.
  • Lyons was sentenced in May 2016 on eight robbery charges from Madison County. His earliest release date is in February 2032.
  • Parish was sentenced in December 2009 for a murder and robbery in Allen County. His earliest release date is in May 2066.
  • Blanchard was sentenced in October 2010 for the murder of three people in Howard County. His earliest release date is in May 2134.
  • Wagner was sentenced in March 2010 for burglary in Marion County. His earliest release date is October 2027.

“The Eighth Amendment requires that incarcerated people must receive the minimal civilized measures of life’s necessities — a baseline standard that officials at Miami Correctional Facility are consistently failing to meet. The horrifying stories emerging from Miami Correctional Facility’s isolation unit shock the conscience and violate the Constitution. In case after case, prison officials subjected these men to brutal conditions no human being should ever experience – knowing full well the pain and trauma they were inflicting. Imagine being trapped in a small dark room where you were subject to being shocked by live electrical wires every time you attempted to move – we wouldn’t tolerate animals being held in such horrifying conditions, how can we tolerate them for people? ” 

Kenneth J. Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana

This article was corrected to show William H. Anderson was sentenced in August 2012, not August 2021.

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