Miami Correctional Facility
|Location||Grissom Air Reserve Base, Deer Creek Township, Miami County, near Bunker Hill, Indiana, USA|
|Security class||– level 4 max security|
|Population||3147 (as of 2011)|
|Managed by||Indiana Department of Corrections|
|Street address||3038 West 850 South|
|J. J. Paulsen|
The Miami Correctional Facility is a state prison located near Bunker Hill, Indiana, on the site of the Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base at West 850 South and US-31, about 11 miles north of Kokomo, Indiana. It was established in 1998 and houses high-, medium-, and minimum-security inmates, all of whom are adult males. At full capacity, Miami can house 3,188 prisoners, making it the largest facility in the state of Indiana. The level-one inmates are housed outside of the prison fence in dormitory-style living units which can accommodate a maximum of 204 prisoners. The high- and medium-security facilities are inside of the fence and hold the level-two and -three inmates in two-man cells.
On March 6, 1996, the Indiana Prison Site Selection Committee announced that the downsized Grissom Air Force Base would be the site for the state’s newest prison. The committee had wanted to ensure that the prison was erected in an area that was not in opposition to a prison. The Miami community had promoted their county through a yellow ribbon campaign for the new prison site because such a facility would provide needed local jobs that had been lost when the air force base, the county's largest employer, downsized.
Construction of Phase I began in August 1997 and was ready for the first inmates to arrive in May 1999. John VanNatta, the first superintendent of Miami Correctional Facility, arrived with the first wave of prisoners. He had previously served as the superintendent of the Atterbury Correctional Facility for ten years. Construction of Phase II of the facility began in 1999 and opened to inmates in October 2001. Superintendent VanNatta was called up in January 2003 from Indiana’s reserve to serve as warden of Guantanamo Bay Prison. Stanley Knight filled in for VanNatta during his absence. Walter Martin assumed the post in June 2006 when VanNatta took a job with the federal government. Mark Sevier became the next superintendent and transferred to Westville Correctional Facility in 2014. The current Superintendent as of November 2014 is Kathy Griffin. Griffin is a retired Army First Sergeant and former Superintendent of Chain O' Lakes Correctional Facility.
The death of an inmate
The most newsworthy incident during the prison's eight-year history was the death of inmate Angel Oquendo #111368 . On December 4, 2002, Oquendo died after a fight with Miami prison officers. The Miami County "Rey" coroner ruled that Oquendo’s manner of death was homicide. He had requested medical treatment but was denied because he did not use correct protocol in seeking medical attention and his condition was ruled to be a non-emergency. Oquendo then refused the officers' instructions and became uncooperative as they tried to escort him back to his cell. The officers resorted to subduing Oquendo with pepper spray and then carrying him between them into the segregation unit. Oqueno died of suffocation after being placed in a cell by himself. Although Oquendo did have a lengthy list of medical conditions, the coroner ruled that his cause of death was suffocation during his restraint. After an investigation by the Indiana State Police, the Miami County Prosecutor determined that there had been no criminal intent by the prison staff and therefore no criminal action would be taken against the staff.
In April 2005, a prison unit designed to work with inmates who are addicted to the drug methamphetamine (meth) was opened at Miami Correctional Facility. This program was one of the first of its kind in the nation. Methamphetamine use has increased significantly in Indiana since 1994, as meth labs are the most concentrated in the Midwest. The goal of the program is to prevent repeat crimes related to methamphetamine use that would land inmates back in prison after their release.
The program, titled Clean Lifestyle is Freedom Forever (CLIFF), is voluntary as well as residential; inmates must live in the unit which is separate from rest of the prison. This intensive four-stage program requires that participants spend 10 hours a day on weekdays participating in program activities. The first stage of the program is education about the circumstances that lead to addiction to meth and ways to avoid these traps. The second and third stage are treatment, which addresses various medical problems that are consequences of meth abuse. The fourth stage of the program prepares participants for re-entry into the outside world. After inmates are released, the program will continue to monitor participants' progress as they readjust to life outside of confinement. CLIFF deducts 6 months from prisoners' sentences upon successful completion.
- "Battle Plan for Correction." Indianapolis Star 15 May 2000.
- "Business booming for Miami Prison." Kokomo Tribune 12 August 2002.
- "New prison unit to treat inmates addicted to meth." Indianapolis Star 9 April 2005.
- "Prison unit to help kick meth habit." Indianapolis Star 12 April 2005.
- "Inmate from Bronx dies after fight with state prison guards.” Indianapolis Star 5 December 2002.
- “Call up brings tough times.” Indianapolis Star 17 January 2003.
- "Taking a step towards recovery." Indianapolis Star 14 October 2005.