BUNKER HILL — Three more inmates have filed lawsuits against Miami Correctional Facility alleging they were confined in near total darkness and received painful shocks from live wires hanging from broken lights.
Kwin Boes, De’Shay Hackner and Isaac Lukes join 10 other inmates who filed suits against the prison alleging they were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment while being held inside isolation units.
The lawsuits have all been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of the inmates.
In the grievances, the inmates said they were placed in isolation cells inside the restrictive housing unit, where prison officials had covered broken outside windows with sheet metal and never replaced or repaired the single light inside the cell.
The lawsuits assert that led to the inmates living in sometimes pitch-black conditions and being shocked by live wires that hung from the broken light fixture. Other windows were never replaced, exposing some prisoners to rain, snow and cold for weeks.
Lukes alleges he was held in a dark cell in which he walked into the live wires on multiple occasions, causing painful shocks and burns. Due to the darkness, he also fell over the toilet and injured his back, which still hurts today, the lawsuit says.
Hackner said the outside window in his cell was also broken, but it had no covering, so the cell was exposed to the elements. When it was eventually covered by sheet metal, his only light source was removed.
The lawsuit also alleges the call box, which allows prisoners to call officers through an intercom, had also been destroyed in Hackner’s cell. On one occasion, he received a painful shock from the wires exposed where the call box had once been, according to the filing.
Boes alleged his cell had a metal cover over the broken window, but it was never sealed. He said that led him to be exposed to rain and snow and suffer painful cold while being held there in March.
All three lawsuits say the prisoners were never let out of their cells for recreation, but only for 15 minute showers every two or three days.
According to the filing, the warden and deputy warden at the prison continuously ignored the men’s claims and refused to make basic repairs, even withholding medical attention when required.
The lawsuits assert that prison officials violated the plaintiffs’ Eighth Amendment rights and are liable for compensatory and punitive damages.
Kenneth Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said stories continue to emerge from the prion’s solation unit that “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,” he said.
The Indiana Department of Correction said in an email it does not comment on active litigation.
The new filings come just days after an inmate was found dead from multiple stab wounds inside his cell.
Matthew Koch, 42, was found unresponsive at around 11:30 a.m. Sept. 5 by corrections officers. Despite life-saving measures performed by prison staff members, Koch succumbed to his injuries, according to a release.
An autopsy conducted Sept. 7 determined that Koch’s death was a homicide caused by blood loss from multiple sharp force trauma wounds. Investigators suspect foul play and are conducting an active homicide investigation.