suicide watch

Since February 2 when Blade Reed was goaded into taking a swing at another kid in the Wabash Valley Correctional Institution’s youthful offender wing, it’s been like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion.

Now I’m sorry I haven’t told you anything about this before now, but we were afraid the prison staff would carry out reprisals against the kid if we were to make any waves.

The staff has always reserved particular cruelties for Blade, but now it seems to us that the best way to protect him is to bring attention to the inhumane brutalities to which he is being subjected.

Right now things couldn’t get much worse for Blade, who is now in a “strip cell” in the solitary confinement unit without anything at all to occupy or calm him—that is, it couldn’t get worse unless the authorities were to take away his underwear or give him a razor blade (as has happened before). They’re tormenting a vulnerable, mentally-disabled juvenile.

This is state-sanctioned torture… and to what end?

The authorities would tell you they’re punishing Blade for fighting per standard IDOC procedure, and teaching him that fighting doesn’t wash at Wabash. But my take on it is that they’re meting out special treatment designed to break him or kill him, demanding behavior from Blade with which, as an autistic kid, he is not wired to comply. Despite his 16 years, Blade Reed has been evaluated and documented as functioning mentally somewhere around the level of a 10-year-old. He was functioning at an 8-year-old level at the time he was arrested and charged as an adult for his role as an accessory in a murder committed by his older brother, who called all the shots in his domineering relationship with Blade.

The incident that has landed Blade in solitary confinement was initiated by another prisoner who has taken on the torment of Blade Reed as a special pastime. He knows Blade’s hot buttons and knows that he can goad Blade into reacting to harassment that will get Blade punished much more severely than he will be punished. The authorities have consistently failed to keep Blade and his tormenter separated, and they appear to allow situations to escalate until Blade predictably does something stupid.

The other boy was confined to his cell for only five days without phone or recreation privileges; Blade was sent off to solitary confinement until April 5, where he is deprived of much more than phone and recreation, and subjected to conditions including sleep depravation that exacerbate his mental health issues.

With the full knowledge of the prison’s top administrators, a hearing was held on February 8, whereupon Blade was placed in “Disciplinary Segregation,” which is a prison euphemism for solitary confinement. From past experience, the authorities know this only makes Blade’s state of mind worse. This time, as a concession to help ameliorate the negative impact isolation would have on Blade’s wellbeing, the administration promised they would allow Blade to have a radio with headphones (which Stephen and Mrs. Reed paid for), but it was never delivered by the prison commissary.

Blade’s mother visited him on February 11, just three days into his solitary confinement, and she reported that Blade looked terrible. She said he had bags under eyes and drawn features. She said he seemed to be suffering.

Since Blade’s isolation began, Stephen has received two letters from Blade. The first one seemed upbeat and hopeful, and Blade promised to get through the ordeal the best he could. The second letter, however, seemed more ominous as Blade explained what he was facing and how it compared to his previous experiences in isolation. Some highlights:

“The last time I was here in the CCU, I had many problems. 

“#1 Most important, I got minimum to no schooling, and for the schooling I did get there was no help. I didn’t receive the material or help that I needed to learn.

“#2 Staff were constantly messing with me. I was rarely able to come out of my cell for a shower or recreation, and when I was allowed to, you know what happened.

(Note: See my previous post, “Worse than I Knew,” at:

“#3 Recreation for us juveniles is supposed to be 2 hours a day. I was lucky to get an hour once or twice a week, when I did get it at all.

“#4 I was sprayed with mace and pepper spray twice, cell extracted, beat up, and harassed all the time by staff members.

“#5 Many times I went without eating because I was in a strip cell and staff would either not care to bring me my food or when they did bring it they would touch everything without gloves or wrappers protecting the food. 

“#6 They constantly kept me in a strip cell, for one point for over a month, and I was left naked with nothing. At one point I even went one whole week without a mattress or clothes, so I was forced to stay up for 4 days until I finally fell asleep on the steel bed.”

This morning Stephen received a phone call from Blade informing Stephen that he was being transferred from a normal solitary confinement cell to a “strip cell,” which is devoid of anything to occupy his time or make him comfortable. He has been stripped down to his underwear and does not even have a mattress. Blade has been placed on suicide watch for 72 hours because last night, having been sleep deprived for a couple nights, Blade lost it, began pounding on the door for the other inmates to stop making so much noise, and then attempted to cut his wrists with his own fingernails.

Instead of providing conditions which will allow the boy to sleep, providing some basic human comforts, providing the promised radio to help Blade occupy his mind, or exercising compassion or providing any other kindnesses, the authorities are turning up the intensity of the torment and punishments that destabilized the boy in the first place. It is not a prescription for a positive outcome.

We’ve had it, and we will remain quiet no longer. This treatment of Blade Reed by the state of Indiana is in violation of Federal laws and international conventions, and we intend to bring appropriate pressure to bear to end this outrage. But more immediately, we believe that Blade’s life is at risk and we will be organizing a campaign and publicity to get someone in authority in Indiana to intervene before it is too late.

Stay tuned as we organize our efforts and keep a vigil for Blade. If you believe in prayer, please pray for Blade—and for his captors, as well, who must experience a change of mind, heart, and behavior.

Please visit this link right now and let your voice be heard!



Groove of the Day 

Listen to Marc Streitenfeld performing “Suicide”


22 Responses to “suicide watch”

  1. February 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Signed and shared on Facebook and Twitter.

  2. February 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Why they can do this and not be facing criminal charges. Why the torture of a child is being tolarated. Damn Cowards!!!!!!! signed and shared with everyone. What kind of monsters are on wabash?

  3. February 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    This is truly despicable. It is disturbing beyond any words I have to describe it.

  4. 4 Marie
    February 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I just get sick thinking this goes on. How abusive and cruel can they system get. Why don’t they give this kid some help! This is insane!

  5. February 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    These incidents aren’t just isolated with Wabash, it is commonplace throughout the prison system. But when it happens to a teen, who struggles with much in life, it makes it all the worse. Blade’s case is different than most, as he has several disabilities, some of which were never taken into consideration by the courts, and have impacted his life greatly. Punishment is one thing, but there is a fine line with it. If any person with a child were to treat that child like Blade has been treated, that child would be taken away from us by the state for child abuse, yet, this treatment of kids is sanctioned by every states prison systems.

    The adult prison system is geared towards punishment, the juvenile system is geared towards rehabilitation. To sentence a child to an adult prison sentence is basically telling them that they are not redeemable. Children have a greater capacity to change than adults do, and they should be given every opportunity to do so. Not thrown to the wolves. Blade deserves that, and hopefully we can give it to him.

    • February 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      On June 3, 2011, i became a Child Abuse Advocate because a 12 year old boy in my hometown of Greensburg, Indiana was beat to death by his mother and her boyfriend ! The coroner said Blunt Force Trauma from Head To Toe was cause of death! His name is Devin Parson’s, just like the guards at Wabash, DHS was involved so you would have thought they would be protecting him! NOT!!! so, this case has really got to me, just like Devin’s! I’ve lived in Virginia 21 years, but, if there is anything i could do to help, please let me know! Penny

  6. 7 maxsscoutservicesllc
    February 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I recommend that all readers take written action.

    Petition government.
    All elected politicians
    — especially send a copy of your correspondence to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R), who is rumored to be a choice as the Vice Presidential nominee, particularly since New Jersey’s governor Christopher Christie came out publically today that he would not…run

    And do some homework. For instance, how many pardons has Gov. Daniels issued?

    How many youth are in similar situations in any particular state?
    If there is one detainee, this is an indication that there are others held captive in their prison system.

    The US Attorney General, too.
    Why cannot the Federalies step in at this point?!?

    Carbon copy Both Indiana US Senators, especially the influential former Indy Mayor Dick Lugar (R). Don’t just send e-mails, snail mail your correspondence and phone three days after you mailed it.

    May God and “the force be with you”

  7. February 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I forgot to add, I’m Administrator of Blue Soldiers (BSRN) of Indiana, and Devin’s Voice

  8. February 26, 2012 at 12:29 am

    According to Blade’s caretaker, this treatment and much worse has been an ongoing horrific problem since Blade’s incarceration began at Wabash. That means for YEARS.

    Do a search of “Wabash Valley Correctional Facility” on YouTube and see they type of beings these children are forced to be around. They are caught between two packs of wolves, one the inmates and the other the staff. If you only knew the truth, you would weep and your life would never be the same.

    And, this is happening all over the “judicial” systems in various states. The treatment of our children and youth in these facilities is a dirty little secret that the average American does not want to face because we are cowards.

    We want to think if we don’t associate ourselves with the information about what is going on then it doesn’t affect us but it does. We want to keep our heads in the sand but just because we refuse to face it head on doesn’t mean the danger is not there, ready to devour us.

    As I became new to this type of child advocacy and researching the facts, its perfectly clear our society is heading in a downward spiral. The prisons are overflowing and as Dan has written about before, we are criminalizing everything. We are setting ourselves up to break laws we don’t even know exist.

    I’ve come to realize the judicial system is not about truth and justice. Its just like everything else…its about the money. Follow the money. Next time you go to town, take a good look at the Police Station, Sheriff’s Office, Court House, Probation Offices, Prosecutor’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, the vehicles, the support staff (Secretary(s), Cleaning Crew, Maintenance, Detention Staff, Office Assistants, Dispatchers, Judges, Ballifs, Warrant Servers, etc, etc, etc….). Go inside and think about the cost of just running the electricity and water of the buildings let alone the office supplies, cleaning supplies, toiletries for the bathrooms, etc.

    It is a business. Pure and simple. They need crime. Criminals are their customers. They have to have crime to keep their positions (money and power).

    In addition, what type of personalities WANT to work in these ‘detention facilities’? People with a control complex. Some with internal desires to have an excuse to victimize other humans and get away with it. And, they know they can get away with just about anything because nobody will want to protect and defend the ‘criminal’.

    Blade Reed needs your help.

    I am amazed the boy is still alive. He was introduced onto this Earth into a world of horrific abuse and cruelty. He was taken from that and served to even greater and more horrific perpetrators all the while being caged.

    I can’t even imagine what his view of this world is. All he has ever known is being the receiver of horrific use and abuse from the people who was supposed to protect him the most, his biological parents and then the system that promises to protect.

    Get informed. Get involved.

    A valuable resource:

    Just Detention International

    “Since 1980, JDI has worked to end the sexual abuse of detainees, in the U.S. and around the world. At the heart of JDI’s mission lies a conviction that when the government removes someone’s freedom, it takes on the absolute responsibility to protect that person’s safety. JDI works with policymakers, corrections leaders, advocates, and prisoner rape survivors to end this form of violence, once and for all. No matter what crime someone might have committed, rape is not part of the penalty.”


  9. 11 Wolfgang
    February 26, 2012 at 3:10 am

    It’s disgusting what they do with him and it shows how inhuman it is to throw children into an adult system where they not belong. -Remember Even Paul H. Gingerich a 12 year old should be at this place. With a bit, just a bit common sense they send him into a high secured juvenile facility, where he still doesn’t belong.
    I suggest get international, write letters to international newspapers about his case send letters all over the world send a letter to Amnesty International, let them know that children in the US prison system still can be tortured, that children in the US prison system are threatened not appropriate. I think even the Norwegian mass murder that killed more than 70 young people get a more human treatment than Blade Reed.

  10. 12 Frank Manning
    February 26, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I’ve signed and shared the petition on Facebook. Indiana’s treatment of Blade is a crime against humanity, up there with all the stuff the nazis and the khmer rouge and saddam hussein and the rest of the scummiest scum of the earth have perpetrated. Despite my boiling blood, I am for now a law abiding citizen, so what I advocate is an avalanche of federal civil rights lawsuits on Blade’s behalf and petitions for federal armed intervention to forcibly put an end to these crimes. Attorney General Eric Holder and his civil rights division would be my prime audience. I’m no lawyer, so can any lawyers out there start with filing a FEDERAL writ of habeas corpus to at least get Blade out of that Wabash Valley hellhole? Those sociopath bastards with badges will kill that poor kid–mark my words! Let’s get him out of there while he’s still alive and in one piece! God help the state of Indiana if Blade doesn’t survive this criminal ordeal they are putting him through.

  11. February 26, 2012 at 4:44 am

    im a freshman in high school and ive had depression since 5th/6th grade. ive thought about running away and suicide. when i told my parents i had depression they laughed and said that i was a dumb f***. i also told them i was thinking of running away and the same this. he also said he would bring me somewhere and drop me off if i wanted to so my parents are no help to me. i don’t want to tell them about suicide. 1) should i run away from home? 2) should i commit suicide? 3) What else can i do to get away from parent? 4) what should i do?

    • February 26, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Without knowing the specifics of your situation I can only give you two pieces of advice. First, no, you should not commit suicide–that decision is irreversible and certain to be a mistake. Second, you must talk with a caring, non-judgmental adult whom you can trust.

      If you have no one to talk to who fits this description, you can talk with me by private e-mail at sowelo2000@yahoo.com. I have been through a lot of hard times in my life and even considered, and attempted, suicide–but I came through it, and you can too.

      One of the things people your age do not usually appreciate is that everything changes all the time. Too often we think that things are going to remain just as they are, forever. Not so. They will change, without a doubt. And you can make them change for the better.

      I can tell you for sure that you are not a “dumb f***” as your parent has said. You have shown the intelligence to reach out for help. If anything, the person who said it deserves that label.

      Send me an e-mail and we can talk by phone if you like.

      The world would be a sadder place without you in it. Improve the world by staying alive.

  12. 15 Jeffrey
    February 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

    For anyone interested on Indiana and it`s juvenile system check out the Indianapolis Star newspaper today as Paul Gingerich is on the front page . You can read the story, and view more than 30 photos, at this link: http://www.indystar.com/article/20120226/NEWS02/202260353/What-life-like-14-year-old-killer-tried-an-adult?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News

  13. July 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological world everything is presented on web?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: