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Indiana inmate cuts off part of finger, sends it to newspaper to protest jail conditions

In his letter to The Herald Bulletin, McCune wrote, “Find enclosed my left middle finger tip that I removed for a reason."
Credit: Madison County Jail

ANDERSON, Indiana — An inmate at the Madison County Jail in Indiana severed part of his finger and mailed it to an Anderson newspaper to protest the conditions at the jail.

Our newspaper partners at The Herald Bulletin say Michael McCune, 60, severed the tip of his left middle finger and sent it, along with a two-page, hand-written letter, through the U.S. Postal Service to Scott Underwood, editor of the newspaper.

In his letter to The Herald Bulletin, McCune wrote, “Find enclosed my left middle finger tip that I removed for a reason: to bring to light the oppressive conditions that exist here at the Madison County Jail.”

McCune goes on to allege that staff at the county jail subject offenders to abuse, falsification of conduct records, cold food, sleeping on the floor and violations of due process, according to The Herald Bulletin.

In the second page of the letter, McCune said, “I am of sound mind. I removed this finger-tip to bring about changes of the oppressive conditions that exist here [...]”

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The Madison County Sheriff's Office confirmed to The Herald Bulletin that McCune said he cut off the tip of his finger using a razor blade May 21. The letter mailed to The Herald Bulletin was postmarked May 21.

Sheriff Scott Mellinger says shaving razors are provided to inmates every few days and then collected. McCune had surgery on the finger this week to remove another portion of the finger to stave off the threat of infection, according to Mellinger.

McCune has since been transferred for security reasons to the state Pendleton Correctional facility. He’s awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge after police say he stabbed another man 13 times in the early morning hours of Jan. 12 at a birthday party in Anderson.