Shaka Shakur charged with attacking guard at Wabash Valley, Indiana: Calls needed now!

On Aug. 31, Shaka Shakur, political prisoner and inmate of Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, was involved in an altercation with two correctional officers. Jon Sexton, 71, was taken to the hospital following the incident when Shakur allegedly slipped his restraints and attacked Sexton with a sharpened piece of plastic.

The Wabash Valley administration has gone out of its way to cast the incident as an “unprovoked attack” and to portray Shakur as an unpredictable and violent criminal. The situation inside Wabash Valley lends some much needed context, however.

Officer Sexton is a long-time correctional officer (CO) and is part of a network of closely associated guards and administrators who maintain the prison as a machine of racism, dehumanization and torture. Numerous inmates of Wabash Valley have testified to their treatment by the cabal of “good ol’ boy” guards, who take pleasure in humiliating and abusing inmates in their custody. Spitting in food, confiscating mail, making general threats against family and supporters are common practices of this network of officers and administrators.

Several prisons in Indiana have developed this social dynamic, wherein sparsely populated, primarily rural and white communities see maximum security prisons built in their area. The prison becomes the primary, if not the only, economic driver.

In some instances, whole families become employees of the prison, with one member writing disciplinary actions and another approving them. This leaves no outlet for inmate grievances or self-defense to be heard.

Officer Sexton is a long-time correctional officer (CO) and is part of a network of closely associated guards and administrators who maintain the prison as a machine of racism, dehumanization and torture. 

The IDOC is taking measures to ensure that its cells are constantly filled for the benefit of private corporations like the GEO Group, Global Tel Link and JPay. In order to prevent the public from discovering this trend, inmates are increasingly prevented from communicating with the outside.

Numerous inmates of Wabash Valley have testified to their treatment by the cabal of “good ol’ boy” guards, who take pleasure in humiliating and abusing inmates in their custody.

The prison’s employees see any oversight of conditions inside the prison as a threat to them and their livelihood and they take severe measures to ensure information does not get out. Inmates who expose abuses on the inside face harsh reprisals.


Angaza Iman Bahar (Jimmy Jones)

This is the case with Angaza Iman Bahar (Jimmy Jones), a Wabash Valley inmate who was diligent about exposing the reality of the Aug. 31 incident. Attempts have been made to frame up Angaza for possession of contraband and lying to COs. However, these attempts have not deterred him from getting the truth out to the public.

A culture of sadism has developed inside Wabash Valley. Guards take pride and find humor in their mistreatment of inmates, especially Black and New Afrikan inmates whom they expose to every kind of abuse and humiliation.

Afro-centric and revolutionary literature, including the San Francisco Bay View, is systematically confiscated or outright banned as the prison is beginning to sense the rumblings of mounting resistance to its treatment of inmates.

A culture of sadism has developed inside Wabash Valley. Guards take pride and find humor in their mistreatment of inmates, especially Black and New Afrikan inmates whom they expose to every kind of abuse and humiliation.

For most people in Indiana, these things are invisible, prisons are hidden in rural areas only accessible by long drives, and even if one were to visit, the inmates and the guards are rarely seen but through a television screen. The recent mail restrictions imposed by the Indiana Department of Corrections, limiting correspondence to hand written letters on white, lined paper has only further narrowed the possibilities for communicating the conditions that Indiana inmates face.

What you can do

It is urgent that the security of Shaka Shakur and Jimmy Jones be ensured, but the only way is through mass pressure from the outside. IDOC Watch asks that people call Wabash Valley warden Richard Brown at 812-398-5050 and IDOC Commissioner Robert E. Carter Jr. at 317-232-5711. (IWOC Editor: You can also email IDOC officials at rcarter@idoc.in.gov, rbrown@idoc.in.gov, mauxier@idoc.in.gov, jbasinger@idoc.in.gov, and lsalinas@idoc.in.gov.)

It is urgent that the security of Shaka Shakur and Jimmy Jones be ensured, but the only way is through mass pressure from the outside.

Say that you are aware that Shaka Shakur, 135647, is being charged for defending himself against mistreatment by guards and that Jimmy Jones, 891782, is facing repression for exposing the situation. Demand that charges against Shaka be dropped and all disciplinary action against Jones be ceased.

To learn more and get involved, contact IDOC Watch at idocwatch@gmail.com, idocwatch.org or facebook.com/idocwatch.

This article originally appeared at the San Francisco Bay View.