Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee

Monday, July 16, 2018

Virginia's Red Onion State Prisoner Jason Jordan Files A Grievance and Lawsuit Then Report of Abuse and Assault Ensues



The complaint method of the Virginia Department of Corrections [VADOC] is the process in which prisoners are able to air their complaints about prison guard abuse, violations, and lawlessness. The primary recurring theme prisoners report at Virginia's Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] are threats of retaliation or in the case of ROSP prisoner Jason Jordan's report, full-blown assault. Magaret Breslau prison activist and force behind Virginia Coalition for Justice  Virginia Prisons Justice Network  [VPJN] among other platforms cited in a recent correspondence with VADOC whom asserted all claims of abuse are taken seriously and properly investigated. However, prisoner Jason Jordan reveals his attempt to file a criminal complaint were denied him by ROSP investigator denoting the rule of thumb "wall of silence" to protect their own. We must interject "how can prisons police/investigate themselves. His claims for filing a grievance and lawsuit when he was met with physically aggressive behavior taken to a spot off camera and kicked in his testicles (drawing blood) by guards as to "teach him a lesson" Mr. Jordan went through the various steps to file a charge, "what prisoners go through when they follow their First Amendment Rights to redress a grievance"  wherein Civil Court he won a "Summary Judgement" and is waiting to go to trial. Mr. Jordan also asserts he is a "mental health" prisoner and is being denied mental health treatment. We must state here, Retaliation is illegal, guards have abused their power when they violate the 1st Amendment Rights of prisoners, in this case, the right to petition government officials for a redress of grievances.


By Prisoner Jason Jordan held at Red Onion State Prison
In collaboration with Virginia Prisons Justice Network  [VPJN]
and VAPAC

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Red Onion State Prisoner in Solitary Confinement Accuses Guards Denying Of Meals, Threats of Sexual and Physical Assault



Virginia Red Onion State Prisoner [ROSP] Donnell Barnes soon to be released from prison accuses Guards of continued mistreatment as stated in his first letter published June 1, 2018. He states to vapac ROSP guards are starving him in retaliation for filing complaints on their misconduct ranging from withholding food to the point of starvation, to sexual and physical assault.  These ongoing violations of threats and provocation by ROSP guards must be investigated. Prisoner Barnes has said to be a transgender and is in fear of reprisal which means being humiliated for being the person they are. This degrading treatment of prisoners is dehumanizing but then add to the torturous treatment of this prisoner being locked in solitary confinement. Red Onion  State Prison needs to be independently investigated

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Segregation Reduction Step-Down Program

Segregation Reduction Step-Down Program 830.A (supersedes 2/18/13) Click Here
  • This local Local operating procedure provides institution-specific information concerning staff and offender responsibilities pertaining to segregation (Solitary Confinement, Ad-Seg, SHU) reduction and reentry preparation for general population as well as society

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Outside Exercise Is Denied Customarily By Red Onion State Prison Guards, Sexual Harassment Sometimes Involved By D. Barnes


Per DOP 861.3 reads as follows: Exercise~a. Special housing offenders should be allowed a minimum of two hours of out of cell exercise five separate days per week in a supervised area, unless security or safety considerations dictate otherwise. b. During periods of total facility lockdown, out of cell exercise may also be suspended for special housing offenders. c. A record will be made any time exercise is given or refused. Unfortunately, outside exercise is customarily denied those in Solitary Confinement (aka special housing units) Staff shortages are endemic as excuse, other times it is Guards unwillingness to do their job thwarting Prisoners rights to outside excise by humiliation. The following letter was submitted by Prisoner D. Barnes. Imprisoned at Red Onion State Prison.




By D. Barnes
Collaboration Shaheed Omar
vapac

Friday, June 15, 2018

Virginia Department of Corrections Responds to Recent FOIA Request By Virginia Prison Accountability Committee Members Concerning The Use Of Body Scanning Technology On All Prisoner Visitors



Vapac recently submitted an FOIA to the Virginia Department of Corrections [VADOC] requesting some answers to questions concerning the use of Body Scanning Technology on families, friends, including Children and Pregnant Women. We are sharing their response with our Committee members and followers, family friends of prisoners and the public as this should be of grave concern for many reasons that which was included in a previous post by Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee... Click link to read in its entirety [vapac], "Are Prisons Putting Prisoners Loved Ones, Children, Mothers In Potential Health Risk  `a la Tuskegee Experiment, Even Experts Won't Agree http://bit.ly/2rqpawr".

The questions we posed were as follows and the VADOC's INCLUDED RESPONSE:
  • What are the side effects of the body scanners on the health of adults and privacy of images?
    • See attached
  • What are the side effects of the body scanners on the health of children and the privacy of images?
    • See attached
  • What are the controls to protect and safeguard a visitors privacy?
    • See attached
  • All reports and studies VADOC has done on the use of full intrusive body scans of visitors?
    • VADOC has no records responsive to your request because the records do not exist.
The VADOC States: Although this department is not required to create new records for the sake of responding to an FOIA request, and although FOIA does not compel the production of records in response to informational inquiries, as a courtesy please see above and attached for all responses and responsive records. Thank you for contacting the Virginia Department of Corrections.

We thank the VADOC for their response to "vapac". It shares with us "some" answers however it still leaves us with much concern *NOTE* the highlighted query and response.
  • All reports and studies VADOC has done on the use of full intrusive body scans of visitors?
    • VADOC has no records responsive to your request because the records do not exist.
It still leaves folks asking: Are Prisons Putting Prisoners Loved Ones, Children, Mothers In Potential Health Risk  `a la Tuskegee Experiment, Even Experts Won't Agree.

*NOTE*
We would lov to have some feedback from those who read this so we can further inquire about this issue with those who can address it. Leave your comments and we will be posting all of them. For or against this policy.

For further accessibility and to read in its entirety click on the popout link ↓↓↓↓↓
By vapac

References

Are Prisons Putting Prisoners Loved Ones, Children, Mothers In Potential Health Risk  `a la Tuskegee Experiment, Even Experts Won't Agree http://bit.ly/2rqpawr".

An Insider’s Look at How the Virginia DOC Handles Contraband - Correctional News http://bit.ly/2sYlB1c



Saturday, June 9, 2018

Virginia's Denis Rivera Prisoner At Red Onion State Prison Expresses Fear Professing Threats From Officers


One of the biggest threats at some Virginia Prisons especially ROSP prisoners convey is the antagonistic threat of "I'll set you up" from guards.  Prisoner Denis Rivera confined in Virginia's Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] speaks of lawlessness by prison guards, Threats and Abuse seem to be the common thread in their midst. Mr. Rivera states threats of retaliation for complaints. One must realize here that if the job duties were being performed there would be few complaints from prisoners.
                              Click On Pop-Outs for Assessable Reading ↓↓↓
By Denis Rivera
Collaboration Shaheed Omar
vapac

Friday, June 8, 2018

Prisoner Israel Copper VA's Red Onion State Prison Previous Victim of Assaults Settled Out Of Court But Still Remains At Same Facility To Continue to Be Victimized & Retaliated Against


When someone’s behavior is not compliant with the law, or they are acting in a way that threatens safe and secure incarceration or is contradictory to decency, honesty and so on, disciplining is necessary for everyone’s safety and well-being to quote Peter Garrett who has written articles for  Around Corrections, the Official Newsletter of the Virginia Department of Corrections. Note We are NOT talking about Prisoners here but prison officials and guards. The following letter from Prisoner Israel Cooper shared by Mr. Shaheed Omar exposes Virginia's highly dysfunctional Correctional system where the Virginia Department of Corrections claim disciplining is relatively rarely needed in the Department. Could it be they allow said prison guards to unlawfully mistreat prisoners?



By Israel Cooper
Collaboration Omar Shaheed
vapac

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Invisible To Society by TyJaune Jerrell Pridgen Imprisoned at Virginia's Wallens Ridge State Prison



TyJuane Pridgen is imprisoned in Virginia's prison system, serving his sentence at this time in Wallens Ridge State Prison, He is a gifted writer what shares with us his love for creative writing. He says this gives him an opportunity to express his thoughts and imagination. 




By TyJuane Jerrell Pridgen

To contact Mr. Pridgen write to:
TyJuane Pridgen #1019760
Wallens Ridge State Prison
P.O. Box 759
Big Stone Gap Virginia 24219



Saturday, June 2, 2018

FREE-LANCE STAR IRKED BY ACLU of VIRGINIA REPORT ON SOLITARY CONFINEMENT


It would have been refreshing had the 5/16/18 FREE-LANCE STAR Fredricksburg Virginia editorial on VA. MAKING STRIDES ON SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, made the effort to do what editorials and opinions are intended and that makes us think and attain a deeper understanding of an issue. But true to contemporary form the editorial instead plyed the idealistic and easy way out lemming-dive by parroting a narrative that has nothing to do with the nature of the issue. Instead, the editorial behaved as any run of the mill diversionary campaign leaflet pronouncing absurdities.

The question isn't; "really what is a prison to do" as fifth columnesque asked by the Free-Lance Star Editorial. Because the answer to what is a prison to do is simple: Follow the law, comply with the rule of law and obey policies and procedures. But we have to assume that if this answer, is such a conundrum and paradox for the Free Lance-Star editorial to access we have to then presume that the editorial accepts the mythology, prison officials are beyond reproach and above the law.

The prison officials are beyond reproach and above the law narrative, quite frankly is tired, worn and stale and has wreaked more havoc on society than the cumulative and aggregate acts of the prisoners whom prison officials have the professional privilege and responsibility of imprisoning.

Virginia spends relatively $1.5 Billion on its prisons and if taxpayers who are saddled with poor schools, a health care system that's a travesty and the injustice of an anachronistic political-economy are satisfied with their money funding an opaque prison system that is supported by default tough on crime platitude excusing the unaccountability of its prison officials who behave with lawless impunity, then the tensions and antagonisms of such a social contract will only grow. But if questions are asked and accountability demanded     Then the citizenry of Virginia will have the benefit of "equal justice for all".

The 5/16/18; Free Lance-Star editorial on Solitary Confinement in Virginia was it's irked response to the 5/10/18; ACLU of Virginia Titled, Silent Injustice: Solitary Confinement In Virginia.  By which the ACLU called upon Governor Ralph Northam to ban its use in Virginia.

For whatever reason, this call by the ACLU irritated and irked the Free Lance-Star hence the editorial and that tired, worn and stale reactionary narrative with antebellumnesque retorts like"

  • "Those who are in solitary had to earn their way there. It is incarceration of last resort". Or [Those] who chooses to do bad things or make bad decisions simply because they are inherently bad people" or "The ACLU is free to make its case.......despite the publics lack of sympathy for how those they see as the worst of the worst inmates are treated".
Are intended to be well-reasoned points, a contribution to the question of solitary confinement, which in 1890 the U.S. Supreme Court in the case In Re: Medley 134 U.S. 160 declared "an infamous punishment" and in 2018 Porter v. Clarke et al 1:2014cv1588 [Virginia case] ruled that solitary confinement violated the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Had the Free Lance-Star been intellectually honest and not indulged in colloquial distortions, it would have quickly realized that the ACLU's report spoke of and detailed criminality by prison officials.

Prisoners are not sentenced to prison to be assaulted and battered, their testicles crushed by prison guards or denied outside exercise, showers, and meals or framed with contrived and fabricated offenses and lied on to extend the imprisonment by prison officials or entombed in solitary confinement or restrictive or administrative segregation or whatever euphemism used by prison officials in effort to conceal the true nature of the detention which in turn exposes the fact that prison officials are well aware that something is inherently unjustifiable and abjectedly beyond the pale with the detention and the "incarceration of the last resort" apologetic dismissal of it by the Free Lance-Star editorial is all the more insidious.

What the FreeLance-Starr editorial doesn't tell us is prison officials are not a law unto theirself, despite the fact certain Virginia politicians have attained speculative power by enabling that myth. But Virginia prison officials [as all other prison officials across the nation] are firstly subject and subordinate to the U.S. Constitution then as it relates to Virginia, The Virginia Constitution and Virginia Law-code 53.1 and lastly Virginia Department of Corrections [VADOC] Standards, Procedures, policies and Practice Nothing in the U.S. Constitution, Virginia Constitution, Virginia Code 53.1, VADOC Standards, Procedures, Policies, and Practices permits prison officials to operate and behave in a manner the ACLU Silent Injustice Report describes prison officials at Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] has.

When the Free Lance-Star editorial speaks of [prisoners] earning "their way" into solitary confinement or "because they are inherently bad people". It is a divisionary red herring intended to distract from the fact the ACLU's report detailed ROSP officials criminality and instead reframe the issue as the ACLU wants to coddle prisoners whom society has no and shouldn't have no sympathy for. It also reveals the extent and level to which that reframing narrative is divorced from the fact, prison is a legal construct and regardless of the fact prison officials behave hypocritically and lawlessly underpins prison and imprisonment.

First of all, no one is in prison because they are "inherently bad". People are imprisoned because of a violation of a criminal code, then the subsequent conviction under law and imposition of sentence. There are all sorts of "inherently bad" people in Virginia society and some very well could be on the Free Lance-Star editorial staff. So framing the issue as a simple bad and good contrast is insidiously naive and biased towards a specific and particular worldview that has nothing to do with the questions raised by the ACLU's report.

Prison Reform has never been about society's lack of sympathy for prisoners. Prison reforms instead, is about the work to hold prison officials accountable for their lawless behavior and the ACLU's report made that sternly clear with a damning indictment against ROSP and VADOC officials. But instead of the Free Lance-Star pointing this out, it chose to pull out all the stops in defense of prison officials ignoring the likely probability that statistics generated by VADOC and ROSP, used by the editorial were plausibly spurious.

ROSP which is signaled out by the ACLU report because it is Virginia's primary prison for solitary confinement is subject to and subordinate to the legal authorities listed earlier, U.S. Constitution et.al and more immediately VADOC Operational Procedures.

The Practice of indefinite solitary confinement of prisoners by ROSP officials is subject to a couple of U.S. Const. Amendments, specifically, the 8th Amendment, Prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, due process under the law and equal protection provisions. It is also subject to Article 1 Section 9 prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and Article 1 Section 11 Due process under the law and equal protection provisions of the Virginia Constitution, also protections against ex-post facto punishment. Also VADOC Operating Procedures [OP] 861.1    Offender discipline or punitive segregation or solitary confinement Local OP 830 A-Step Down Program or Administrative Segregation or Solitary Confinement and OP 830.1, OP 830.2     Facility classification management and security level classification   both deal with mechanisms for due process under the law.  

What all of this, the above show is there are specific procedures or legalities governing the practice of Solitary Confinement which ROSP systemically violates. The consequences of the violations are what the Free Lance-Star and its partisan brethren have typically dismissively characterized as "harshness" of prison that is to be expected and there is no public sympathy for its amelioration. While opportunistically ignoring that they are endorsing lawlessness while claiming to be against it. at the most pivotal intersectionality of all the contradictions of the social contract laid bare     Prison. Which is another revelation that the historical antagonism of those who want to under cover of law behave extra judicially while exploiting that same law to subjugate others is the quintessential issue.

If the Free Lance-Star's editorial staff are interested in the practice of Solitary Confinement, the due diligence responsibility is to maximize a qualitative understanding of it and to also recognize that VADOC and its ROSP officials have a vested interest in its either pro or con  narrative that is diametrically at odds and not apparent in its pronouncements of reform.  Yes, there has been a decrease in the number of prisoners held at ROSP C/Building which is the primary Solitary Confinement Unit. But there are a number of reasons for that, which one obviously being it isn't serving the current 1998 ROSP narrative. Since its opening in 1998 ROSP has lurched and morphed a new reason for its existence every 5-7 years. But that is not the point, the issue is the systemic violations ongoing at ROSP Solitary Confinement. which the ACLU-VA exposed in its report and the Fredricksburg Virginia Free Lance-Star saw fit to ridicule. 

*Note*
By William Thorpe is confined in Solitary Confinement at Red Onion State Prison.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Virginia's John Donahue Prisoner at Red Onion State Prison Asserts, Held in Solitary Confinement After Charges Unfounded


Policy and Procedure is essential to the day to day operations of prisons, failure to follow policy and procedure escalates to the next level of appeal, so why doesn't Virginia's prison systems particularly in this case Virginia's Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] comply with their own DOP'S & IOP's? It is historically a known fact that ROSP does not follow VADOC established rules and protocols, the internal staffing at ROSP must be held accountable. ROSP prisoner John Donahue has shared his experience with Mr, Shaheed Omar and VAPAC of failure to follow policy and procedures asserting over 17 months in Solitary Confinement after charges were unfounded and he STILL REMAINS in Solitary Confinement. Prisons exist BECAUSE  of law, ROSP guards and officials are NOT above the law
                                            Click Pop-Out for Assessable Reading ↓↓↓↓

By John Donahue
Collaborating Mr. Shaheed Omar & vapac

Monday, May 28, 2018

Here Is The Letter to Professor Heather Ann Thompson

Professor Heather Thompson claims no one ever reached out to her from Virginia's Red Onion State Prison. This 7/16/17 letter says otherwise. [see attachment].

Minds and hearts as Heather Thompson shouldn't wilt from critique and mischaracterize it as hostility.

We are only realized with critique.

In Strength,  5/9/18
William Thorpe
Even The Sun Had to Justify Its Existence 
Before The Court of Dialectics....1789   1799







                                    Click Pop-Out for Easy Accessible Reading ↓↓↓↓



By William Thorpe
I Am Held In Solitary Confinement At Virginia's Red Onion State Prison

Monday, May 21, 2018

Red Onion State Prison MEMO: A sly and sneaky way to impose limitations and restrictions on prisoner access to courts

Anytime Government, which prison is a function imposes limitations on access or a service. The reasons given rarely have anything to do with the intent of the government reaction.

Think about this. You are an attorney with a prisoner-client at (Virginia's) Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] and you are restricted to only Mondays and Thursdays or after 4 p.m. on any other day-----which could also mean a time limitations of sorts. This is clearly onerous and restrictive, on the Attorney-Client Privilege, not to mention the violation on various U.S. Constitutional Amendments. i.e The 1st Amendment.

Prison Attorney visits are unlike any other visits and should not be cavalierly and arbitrarily treated as such unless the intent by the government i.e ROSP, is an insidious effort to limit prisoner access to the courts which attorney access enables.

Instead of restricting prisoners access to the courts by imposing onerous and arbitrary conditions. ROSP should stop its systemic violations of the rule of law and operating procedures, it's officials, rank, and file are sworn to uphold, which consequently necessitates prisoners seeking access to courts.

Prima facie evidence of ROSP attitude to the rule of law is this memo attempting to limit prisoner access to the courts, which ROSP is fully aware is unlawful.




 \
By William Thorpe
I am held in Solitary Confinement at Red Onion State Prison

Monday, May 7, 2018

Are Prisons Putting Prisoners Loved Ones, Children, Mothers In Potential Health Risk `a la Tuskegee Experiment, Even Experts Won't Agree


Inspired by one of our Virginia prisoners from the Virginia Department of Corrections Sussex I who has recently brought up a controversial subject matter that needs our utmost attention that if we rest on our laurels? This violation of privacy and risk to the well-being of our health maybe even a matter of life and death...

Are Prisoners loved one's     children, mothers, fathers, family and friends being subjected as human guinea pigs `a la the Tuskegee Experiment on Black Men in 1932? Correctional facilities are slowly trying to introduce full-body scanners that had been used by TSA [Transportation Security Administration] in airports until they were considered too intrusive by the TSA. A couple examples of the scanners that prisons across our nation are using are the backscatter X-ray technology and another Adani Compass DA that incorporates "millimeter waves" there may be other brands we are not aware of.

Epic.org reported (quote) these images are not necessarily temporary - screeners can save the body images of children mothers, fathers, family and friends to the system's hard disk or flash drive for subsequent viewing on either "the system monitor or on any IBM compatible personal computer by anyone!!! (unquote) we at vapac can see this exceeding to another level with adding color graphics a simple photoshop which can perform this unsavory illegal deed" that then can be leaked to the public or even worse transferred to ones home personal computer to do whatever they wish!

Then there is the more malevolent evil, the horrific experience that is arguably amongst the best of experts, "Are prisons putting prisoners visiting loved ones in a potential cancer health risk?"  (as well as other health risks. *note* references) An investigative news service Pro Publica has reported that researchers have estimated that widespread use of or one type of scanner regifted to prisons, backscatter x-rays would have caused between 6 and 100 cases of cancer each year among fliers. So why are prisoners families, friends, mothers fathers and children being subjected to such an experiment? $$$$ In some states these types of scanners, utilizing backscatter X-ray technology, were made available via federal grants at no cost, though the agencies had to cover the cost of shipping, set up as well as training which leads to another question, what type of training and policies does the DOC (VADOC) have pertaining to body scanning prisoners loved ones during visiting as well as "prisoners" that are often subjected to these body scans during quarterly shakedowns that use an entirely different x-ray scanning procedures? CorrectionsOne an online resource site stated in one of their recent articles (quote) the fact is backscatter X-rays (as well as any other brand/type of body scanner) just like any new technology, has a place in our line of work. But overconfidence in backscatter X-ray (scanning) technology leads to errors being made and errors made can lead to someone getting hurt. No matter what new inventions we see over our careers, we need to always remember our training and never allow the new invention to make us too complacent in what our gut tells us is right. (unquote). VADOC Director Harold Clarke states in a recent article concerning these various types of x-ray/scanners being used by the VADOC  incorporate “millimeter wave” technology. However, Mr. Clarke more than likely doesn't know any more about what health effects this equipment has on people than the average Joe. We would like to invite the VADOC to provide the public with your studies of how safe is your full body x-ray/scanning machines? As technology scans on human bodies is still neoteric and not
enough data has been collected.


Even the prison guards should be demanding to know the answers to these questions as their risks are just as serious if not more so because they are exposed more often to the potential emission low levels of a type of radiation shown to cause cancer which the European Union has prohibited because of this cancer risk.

Two groups  Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Rutherford Institute have challenged TSA's use of full body scanners in airports I must add these publications are outdated, but there is virtually little about full-body scanners being used in our prison systems. While researching another site zdnet.com reported apparently these scanner-x-ray machines have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and they’ve been used for years in airports around the world, however, FDA has no authority to approve body scanners before they are sold because they are electronic products, not medical devices...

Last but not least we must address the "ethical" aspect of these intrusive machines, violations in Islamic and Jewish teachings (Men/Women must keep their private parts covered).

We are not trying to place fear in the hearts and minds of Prisoners loved ones. We go weekly for our visits that which I myself am a proud member of  but do not want to join the group of people who have become embarrassed by its intrusiveness or ill by the harmful effects of  low-level RF (yeah everyone remembers the controversy of cell phones causing brain tumors) radiation/millimeter waves that supposedly causes the same cancers as high doses but in fewer cases adding to this        other health risks and concerns that can be caused by x-ray/scanners have not been mentioned or addressed.

Virginians we must begin to seek answers to the long list of questions and concerns as there is very little updated data: purported damaging health side effects, adult privacy, the privacy of our children's images being illegally scanned, violations in Islamic and Jewish teachings (Men/Women must keep their private parts covered). We must ask is body scanning of prison visitors constitutional? We must begin to discuss and address with the DOC to produce "clear and concise" safety standards, formatting policy and procedure demanding transparency and accountability in our American prison system.

By Vapac

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Yes Prisoners Do Stupid Stuff



Yes, prisoners do stupid stuff. People in the free world do stupid stuff. The issue isn't pointing out the obvious that people do stupid stuff. The question, however, is how do we hold prison officials accountable. Whether or not a prisoner doing self-defeatist stuff has nothing to do with the fact that a prison official has an obligation to comply with and follow those same laws that got the prisoner in prison.

The question is: How do we hold accountable prison officials? One thing for sure is without the focus and attention of prisoner loved ones, families and friends, the only thing we would know about prison is the stupid stuff prisoners do and nothing the about lawlessness of prison officials.

Let's take the recent incident at South Carolina's Lee Correctional Institute where 7 prisoners were killed and 17 injured. For example, all we hear from South Carolina's government and it officials is gang members killed each other over stuff gangs do. Now all of that could very well be true. But instead, it should be on how South Carolina's Government and its prison officials exacerbated, aggravated, incited and ensured the inevitability that gangs would do gangs. How many of you have read the voluminous amount of lawsuits filed by South Carolina prisoners relative to violations prison officials who have taken an oath to follow the law and behave professionally, are anything but?

The earth of South Carolina is historically as any other square inch of U.S. soil, drenched, soaked in blood and injustice and that again is stating the obvious. The question is: How do we hold accountable government officials.

As we work collectively as families and friends of prisoners seeking accountability of prison officials, let's not forget that victims of crime are also members of the collective and we embrace them. We all know that victims of crime would gladly trade in the prison sentence given the perpetrator for a reversal of the criminal act ever happening and there is no such thing as closure. But there has been this us against them narrative that diabolically pits the work of holding prison officials accountable as families and friends of prisoners are not concerned with the realities of crime. When the reality of the criminal act and its genesis has as much to do with the same lack of accountability and transparency by prison officials which we all know too well as above the law impunity.

By William Thorpe, I'm Held in Solitary Confinement at Red Onion State Prison

P.S. As I concluded this work it was announced, 4/25/18; that the U.S. Government is indicating 14 South Carolina prison officials for a number of federal crimes, including racketeering, dating as far back as 3 years. Of course, the recent incident at the Lee Prison sped this up.

Yes, this is a type of accountability but it still fits that one-dimensional definition of malfeasance. South Carolina Prison officials as their brethren in Virginia have broken rules on a daily basis and if there is nothing more democratic than equality under the law, then prison officials must be held to account.
  
By William Thorpe

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Jeffery Gardner Warehoused at Pocahontas State Correctional Center Expressing Prisoners Plight



A former Senator once noted avidly before his colleagues (quote) " The Public cannot tour the prisons and interview the inmates". (unquote)  However, the "inmates", as well as their families and friends can" share their experiences with "vapac" [Viginia Prisons Accountability Committee]. Here we amplify the prisoner's voice in society so both sides are presented. The following submission: The reality of prison life by Prisoner Jeffery Gardner confined in Virginia's Pocahontas State Correctional Center expressing the prisoner's plight. Note he has some interesting elements open for discussion. We at "vapac" give thanks to Mr. Gardner for sharing his experience. *Note* Click on pop-out icon for larger view,
By Jeffery Gardner Confined at Pocahontas State Prison

Monday, April 23, 2018

Shouldn't Delegate Wendy Gooditis Also Care About Virginia Prisoner Suicides


Are we to infer from the omission of the prisoners (jail and state prisons) from 
Del. Wendy Gooditis House Bill 569, dealing with suicide transparency. Which was signed into law by Governor Northam on 3/19/18? That the Commonwealth of Virginia doesn't care and isn't concerned with the prevalence of prisoner suicide who, need it be pointed out were not sentenced to die by suicide in its prisons?

If laws are expressions of societal-maturity, order, and development shouldn't the consequence of its violation, prisons become that nexus of Governmental transparency and accountability? Yet there is this understanding-perversion of the very reason laws exist, to begin with when it comes to prison.
The Daily Press in a recent story on the 1/7/18; death, alleged suicide of Jordyn Charity, a prisoner barely out of his teens, in Solitary Confinement at Red Onion State Prison (a prison that has high rates of suicides in its Solitary Confinement units) exposed the incredulously above the law realities of prison officials as it concerns prisoner suicides. 

As the Daily Press succinctly put it: "The General Assembly must increase DOC oversight especially when prisoners die within the state's prisons".

By William Thorpe #1033929
Held in Long-Term Solitary Confinement at Virginia's Department of Corrections Red Onion State Prison.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Virginia Wallens Ridge State Prison Guards Exhibit Racist, Unprofessional Behavior Towards Prisoners Claims Sanctioned By Warden and Assistant Warden By Shiva Bhairava




The following letter was shared with Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee by Prisoner Shiva Bhairava confined at Virginia's Department of Corrections Wallens Ridge State Prison submitted by advocate Shaheed Omar. Per Institutional Operation Procedure 135.3. The PURPOSE of This operating procedure ensures that all Virginia Department of Corrections staff and service providers understand and comply with requirements to act professionally and ethically, and to respect the privacy of fellow employees and individual offenders. As prisoner, Shiva Bhairava states in his letter violations of his and other solitary confinement prisoners Civil rights. As Mr. Shaheed states in his cover letter to varied entities, There is a ongoing pattern over the years of racist, unprofessional conduct by named guards who are in violation of these policies and directives, rules and regulations, protocols and procedures and they are supposed to be disciplined accordingly. Examples of the prison's guards behavior are as follows contaminating and messing with Prisons Common Fare Diet/food trays that which is court ordered to be handled and served by Special Sanctions, racial slurs, (example "N****er I will stick these Common Fare up your A**, you Damn Muslims don't deserve to eat") (Mr. Bhairava claims to not be Muslim) it has been brought to our attention that allegedly kitchen supervisors have taken away gloves from kitchen workers as well and then there are the incessant threats. This degrading treatment of prisoners is dehumanizing but then add to the torturous treatment of these men locked in solitary confinement, sleep deprivation. the jamming on doors all night long by a Wallens Ridge Officer named Galliher. Mr. Shiva states that "No wonder prisoners are forced into insanity and are committing suicide! Officer Galliher states that This psychological Warfare is sanctioned by the Warden and Assistant Warden Combs etc..please read the following "Prison Alert" In his own words. *Note to enlarge click on pop-out icon
By Shiva Bhairava Confined at Wallens State Prison Narrative by Shaheed Omar and vapac

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Prisoner Quincy Jones Is Asking Virginia's Red Onion State Prison are you Purposely Forcing the Hand of Non Gang Members In Your "Step Down Program""



One must ask Virginia Department of Corrections if they are purposely antagonizing prisoners that are not involved in gangs forcing their hand to make a behavioral mistake in their "Step Down Program" that might very well get them sent back to long-term solitary confinement? Because one must know the "Step Down Program" is just another form of "Solitary Confinement". Prisoner Quincy Jones has submitted a letter to "Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee" Member Shaheed Omar. Advising us that he may be forced to be confined in a cell with a gang member that which he is not a gang member, thereby placing him in a detrimental position one can only imagine. We are sharing his letter of concern to the public and the Virginia Department of Corrections must take notice to address this issue if their "Step Down Program" is to become successful. As this is not a pathway for prisoners to get to lower security.
                               *Note* Click on "pop out" tab for the enlarged view.  ↡↡↡↡.

 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Recent Memo to Red Onion State Prisoners Held In Solitary Confinement



Whats Funny about this is. prisoners held in Solitary Confinement were not allowed to take out any media devices, to begin with. Before a prisoner in solitary confinement steps out of the cell, there is a total strip search meaning the prisoner is completely naked, turns around, squats, coughs, buttocks cavity search, penis and testicles lifted, arms lifted mouth opened -- this is what is done before prisoners in solitary confinement step out of the cell.

On the question of stocking caps, stocking caps (bright hunter orange) are worn to keep heads protected against the elements.

What I think is the real target of this memo/revision: is, prisoners, wearing watches for the 2 hours outside exercise, in order to keep up and ensure that prison guards comply with the 2 hours mandate for prisoners held in solitary confinement.

The context of this is, prisoners in solitary confinement at Red Onion, are taken out of the cell by 2 prison guards holding the prisoner who is shackled and handcuffed behind the back to a cage that isn't unlike a dog shelter cage    and the outside exercise given by Red Onion to prisoners it detains in solitary confinement for years and decades is a bare cage to simply walk around. So practically a prisoner leaves one cage he could only walk around in for another he can only walk around in.





William Thorpe I'm In Solitary Confinement at Red Onion State Prison

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fighting The Wind Mills: The Don Quixote Aspect of Prison Reform In Virginia By William Thorpe

Irrespective of measure of dictatorship and totalitarianism in any system, it's reality resolves on accountability      To whom and how.

The prison system any different and within the Virginia prison context we find the same relative question of accountability, to whom and how.

To the extent reform of the Virginia prison system is pursued and desired by conscientious politician  lawmakers and reform advocate allies the only aspect of its reality that is of any significance is the accountability metric   To whom and how

Despite the obvious antagonistic fulcrum of prison, meaning human beings not wanting to be imprisoned but society demands that they are. There is a contradiction that requires a purity of accountability, from the imprisoned to society and of society to the imprisoned which is a relative factor of the tyranny of the social-contract that places the onus squarely on society through its government function of maintaining the prison system. That does not behave asocially, compromising the very right it is exercising with imprisonment in ignoring whatever logic and reasons the imprisoned might have had for the offensive behavior that resulted the imprisonment.

Yet what we find within the prison context, of which the Virginia prison system and its Virginia Department of Corrections isn't exempt is: Society, Virginia society to be specific its government through its prison officials and employees operate its prisons squarely and unapologetically in a manner violative of the rule of law which permits the practice of imprisonment in the first place.

So what we encounter as the brutality barbarity and ahumanistic conditions of prison that commands efforts of reform advocacy are specific results of violations of the rule of law and it's mockery of that accountability    which Virginia society, as its metaphorical pound of flesh, demands of its imprisoned while simultaneously averting its attention from the lawlessness of its prison officials and accepting the prison official narrative that those facts necessitating and commanding efforts of reform are integral corollarial harshness of prison.

The supremacy of United States Law, when compelled to legitimize itself through the federal court's system has had this dance with prison accountability with the doublespeak sophistry of not involving too much with the prison question assigning that prison officials are the ones who know what is best for prison. Despite the acknowledgment that the reality of imprisonment, its practice is an experiment which comically negates the very supremacy of United States Law.

The issue, however, is not as clouded and distorted as the schizophrenic nature of the prison narrative, from punishment to rehabilitation would have us think. Because as soon as accountability is formulated transparency and not this stylized veneer, this speculated facade of civility and it's resulting socio-hypocrisy, we now struggle against. It reforms prisons and introduces the necessary transparency. But as we assert that accountability, the socio-contract can only collapse into the might is right speech of which the feeble minded and insidious minded among us ascribe to mythical evil, suiting their own suppositionary ends. Thereby enabling that one-dimensional simplistic pursuit of some humans beyond reproach while others are perpetually reprobated, while excusing its existence among Virginia prison officials, who under the privilege of executing societies interest of maintaining a prison system, abuse and misuse the organized violence of the Virginia citizenry and taxpayer, within the operational logic of violating the very law that permits their very own existence.

What I have attempted to underscore is prison reform in Virginia is wholly circumscribed by the extent accountability and transparency can be demanded of the actions of prison officials who have perfected that contradiction and hypocrisy of the "pot calling the kettle black" to which the prison reform imperative in Virginia due to its nature while imploring compassion for prisoner, is always on the defensive. The state of Virginia, its society, and government, per virtue of its social-contract, defines it's social and political-economic relations, with regulations and proscriptions. The mundane misconceptions and suppositions underpinning the social-contract are in turn conveniently and easily exploited by its prison officials who in the quest to ignore the rule of law redefine the Virginia prisoner as a sub-human and what lawless attitude ignores is: imprisonment is not a judgment on the fact of anyones humaness. But instead, imprisonment is simply the result of a conviction of a violation of a law and only the application of the due process of law can result in a loss of life and the relative circumscription of one's liberty which prison officials have the social and political privilege of upholding.

If prison reform is Virginia isn't to become an indulgence of fighting windmills there has to be the uncompromising insight into the measure and its politics of accountability of the Virginia prison official and I have shown that.

By William Thorpe who is in Long-Term Solitary Confinement at Red Onion State Prison

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Send A Letter: Virginians, Tell Your Legislators To Call For An Independent Investigation Of Red Onion State Prison Practices

Petition
To our Committee Members, Followers, family, and friends of prisoners confined at Virginias Red Onion State Prison please write a letter for the Action Network letter campaign "Virginians, tell your Legislators to call for an independent investigation of Red Onion State Prison practices".
Red Onion, a Supermax prison, isolates more inmates than any other facility, which means keeping prisoners in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day in cells the size of a doctor’s exam room.. As more becomes known about the effects of isolation — on health, public safety and prison budgets — some states, unlike Virginia, have begun to reconsider the practice. The number of inmates that enter the prison with mental illness or develop seriously deteriorating mental health issues is directly correlated to these practices. We are concerned about two issues: One is the recently reported transfer of seriously mentally ill prisoners from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge in which it appears that prison guards, instead of trained Behavioral Health personnel, are being used to transport these prisoners. This is not the protocol and inquiries made to the Department of Corrections from VAPAC (Virginia Prison Accountability Committee) as well as by other organizations and individuals have gone unanswered. Second, is the policy of using OC pepper gas on prisoners attempting suicide. It has been reported that before guards even enter the cell to cut the Prisoner down, OC Pepper Gas (a debilitating toxin that causes a gag reflex) is used before any attempt to help the prisoner. The use of the gas, one would think, is the last thing a potential hanging victim should be subjected to. Red Onion has been under scrutiny for its practices for several years from ACLU, Human Rights Watch, IAHR (Interfaith Action for Human Rights, Solitary Watch, and VAPAC (Virginia Prison Accountability Committee).   We call for an independent investigation on these two issues.  
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