Prison Radio
Earl Martin

My name is Earl Martin Jr. and I’m a 44 year old black man who is insulin dependent, currently serving a life sentence at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. I became a diabetic in February of ‘22 here at this prison. I was called out one night after having the medical [team] here pull my labs and test my blood for diabetes.

My A1C was at a critical level, so I was given a shot, and told to show up at medical two times a day for insulin and I would be put in for a diabetic diet. Since then, I’ve been struggling to maintain a healthy A1C. I’ve had a hard time trying to get proper healthcare to manage my condition. My first issue with medical here is I was never told how to manage my diabetes.

I was put on what they call a diabetic diet, and it took me over a year to figure out this isn’t food that diabetics should be eating. We’re forced to eat a whole loaf of white bread every two days. I’m also loaded down with noodles, potatoes, and rice on every tray on top of the bread. And the medical will just keep upping my insulin.

I’ve been through blood sugar spikes, which make me feel sick, with symptoms like fatigue, vomiting, sweating, sleeplessness, nerve pain in my feet, and I’ve developed cataracts on my eyes that I now need to have surgery to remove. I’m about to seek help from the courts to get an injunction on Wabash and Aramark, to make them provide a real diabetic diet. 

As this is an issue that affects all diabetics in D.O.C., I was hoping that you would help me bring some attention to this situation. Aramark is making billions of dollars off of contracts with prisons in the country, and they claim a proper diet would be too expensive to provide to all diabetic inmates in the system. This is what a nurse told me on a chronic care visit that I had while trying to bring up the issue about my diet. Because of this, they’re slowly killing all of us being forced to eat this diet. That’s pretty much what I wanted to get out there. Is just that I’m trying to bring a suit against, uh, the prison and Aramark and I’m looking for any kind of support or knowledge about how to approach this. My first time trying to bring a civil suit and I’m doing it on my own.