Protesters march outside Michigan City prison, concerned for prisoners’ health

Image courtesy: Jeremy Seabolt

Saturday about two dozen protesters demonstrated against conditions at the state prison in Michigan City.

Many of the demonstrators say they believe prisoners are treated like animals and being denied basic needs.

With signs in hands, protesters gathered in front of the prisons gates, shouting their demands.

They say the prisoners have little to no running water, deal with bug infestations, poor food and cannot have any physical contact with family members when they visit.

Many have family members currently incarcerated.

For one family, they are protesting after their brother Joshua Devine died in a fire in the prison last year.

"I've heard them say they can still hear my brother scream for his life. They can still smell his burning flesh. They're not getting medical treatment for that. We know prison is not supposed to be a fun and a resort away from home, but it's still supposed to be livable for humans,” said Krystal Devine, whose brother died in prison.

Isaac Randolph, the chief communications officer for the Indiana Department of Corrections, says the fire that killed Devine was investigated by the state fire marshal. He says he cannot comment further though due to pending litigation, but he says mental health staff met with offenders after the deadly fire to provide counseling.

As for some of the other complaints, Randolph provided lengthy responses. As for the food, he says it’s designed by dietitians to meet nutrition levels.

On the issue of bug infestation, he says weekly and monthly sanitation inspections occur.

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