Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Virginia Department of Corrections In Its Operation Unlawful Treatment of Reentry Prisoners At Virginia's Greensville Correctional Center

We at "Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee" have received the following alarming letter from concerned families of prisoners  At Greensville Correctional Center. We have been alerted officials there are not doing their jobs and denying guys their earned good time, overriding their security levels thus keeping them incarcerated longer than they should be. VADOC headquarters in Richmond (atmore) is also not listening to the families when they call the court legal services unit and the correspondence department is not responding to inmate requests, assistance etc. my husband should’ve been home last month and they’re denying him his review and all the things aforementioned. 
We are asking our followers and members to share this post as a step in the process by exposing VADOC violations at Virginia's Greensville Correctional Center. 

Thank you
Submitted Anonymously protecting their identity by a member and follower of Virgina Prisons Accountability Committee.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Appalling Conditions at Virginia's Danville City Jail Needs Action Immediately

I am wondering if you can help me out by letting me know who I need to contact about the conditions at the Danville City Jail.

They are making the inmates sit in their underwear both female and male inmates and this process is taking 5 to 6 hours each time they come to ask the inmates if they want a new jumper.  Also, they are not turning the heat on but maybe once a day and so the inmates are cold as well and many of them don't have underclothing because the jail doesn't provide it for them.  The food amounts that they used to get are being cut in half as well, many of the inmates are not receiving their commissary as well because they keep telling them that there is a mix up of their funds even though the inmates were handed a receipt showing that money was put on their accounts.  They are being denied their religious rights as well, many are not being allowed to go to the bible studies or even able to see the Chaplin when they ask to see him.  There are several of them that don't have hot water in their cells and many that barely even have any cold water.  

If you could point me in the right direction as to who I need to express my concerns to that would be very much appreciated.

Thank you
Submitted Anonymously protecting their identity by a member and follower of Virgina Prisons Accountability Committee

Monday, November 27, 2017

Victims Ploy Or Accountability

Are the various victims "Rights" enactments actually designed to address issues confronting victims of crime or are the enactments political ploys exploiting victims for the benefit of politicians in the pursuit of speculative power?
Let us hear from you!

By vapac

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Virginia Tax Payers and $30,000

How many Virginia Taxpayers understand that the approximate $30,000 per year spent on imprisoning a prisoner within the state's Virginia Department of Corrections approximate 38,000 plus prisoner population is comparable to the Commonwealth of Virginia giving 30,000 citizens $30,000 per year.

There would be an uproar and a revolution were Virginia taxpayers and voters to realize 30,000 of its members have the privilege of such a yearly stipend.

If law, order, and justice are the logic of society, it's social contract and compact and if, imprisonment besides sanction of execution is the absolute social imposition on the sovereign individual. Then there cannot be any abstractions of nuances in its cognitive determination as it is voted for and funded by the taxpayer.  Virginia taxpayers and voters have to understand what is being done IN THER NAME.

The question isn't what is to done with citizens who run afoul of Virginia's criminal laws. Rather what we have to come to terms with is: If the Virginia taxpayer is unwilling to spend $30,000 on citizens in mitigative expenditure on the probability and possibilities of imprisonment in the first place, why then do we gladly spend it to imprison the citizen?

Why should a Virgina citizen convicted of larcenous activity to the tune of a $1,000, given a prison term of 5 years cause a $150,000 financial outlay by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Which is what it would approximately cost Virgina taxpayers and voters to imprison the convicted citizen. There isn't an argument or reasoning that defends such political fact. yet taxpayers and voters glibly participate in this social insanity. Particularly when those same taxpayers and voters criticize and are antagonistic towards the various governmental programs giving assistance to laid-off workers and disabled taxpayers in need.

Imprisonment is a governmental function that is practiced by the state as voted for by taxpayers and if society is a constituent progression of enlightenment. Then citizen-voters have a specific obligation: to recognize what is practical and what is idealistically-speculative.

By William Thorpe
At Red Onion State Prison Solitary Confinement.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

On The March 30th 2017 Tour of Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] By Interfaith Action for Human Rights [IAHR]

On Thursday, March 30th, 2017; a coterie of self-styled advocates for prison reform in Virginia including members of the group, Interfaith Action for Human Rights [IAHR] toured Virginia's Red Onion State Prison [ROSP].

The group walked past cells in c-building ROSP's primary solitary confinement building. Cells which held and hold prisoners who are denied outside exercise, showers and sometimes meals. They walked past cells improperly and inadequately holding mental health prisoners. [it is noteworthy that since 2014, 3 prisoners in solitary confinement in ROSP's C-Building have committed suicide], They walked past the cells holding prisoners, some of whom have been in Solitary Confinement over 20 years and the walk through, tour for them was a festive affair. Their voices rang giddy with the excitement of being inside the ROSP environment. As one asked their tour guide [a member of ROSP's investigative or intelligence department] could they go out into the outside exercise cages! Then a prisoner's voice yelling through a cell door, in C-Buildings 3/pod called to account the spectacle that prisoners are not animal exhibits or displays in a zoo.

IAHR in its subsequent newsletter/email titled "Report on visit to Red Onion State Prison" gave itself the proverbial congratulatory pat on the back.

What IAHR and its ilk ignore is: 1. Prison officials work for citizens of society which also includes prisoners. 2. Advocates for prison reform shouldn't be motivated by friendship with prisoners or prison officials. What I mean by prison reform shouldn't be motivated by amicability with either prisoners or prison officials is this: Prison reform is necessary because prison and imprisonment stand at the accountability apogee of society, playing a crucial and pivotal role to the social contract and compact. Because when society practice of imprisonment is done in an idealistic and reactionary manner, society as a whole suffers and pays the price. Because prisoners, once released from the imprisonment, who have been brutalized and dehumanized while in prison will now interact with an unsuspecting society in alienating and destructive ways and daily news accounts bear this out. to which prison officials are quick to shift the narrative and blame prisoners and the released prisoner for whatever stupid mayhem the released prisoner brings society. But the reality is prison officials are squarely and primarily to blame because of the idealistic conditions and sadistic treatment they subjected that imprisoned human to. Conditions which if the prisoner before the imprisonment was deviant, prison officials and their prison experimentation have now catalyzed and enabled the maturation of the deviancy. So society's interest in prison reform is primarily all about society's self-interest because to put it simply, accountability irrespective of the subjective is the objective of the social-contract and compact.

But as it related to IAHR and their March 30, 2017, ROSP tour, IAHR is oblivious to all that I have said. If Government is, to quote Abraham Lincoln, "of, by and for the people", prison officials are functionaries of government and are not exempt from the"..... by and for the people" nature of government and the only dilemma [which IAHR in its "Report on visit to Red Onion" describes itself as facing] was when it was confronted with the inadequacy and immaturity of its understanding and perspective of what is the prison official in a modern American prison. Which was starkly exposed by IAHR's behavior, its interaction with ROSP officials prior to and during the March 30, 2017, tour within the fraudulent context that it is about prison officials and the gentility of their sensibilities.

IAHR doesn't see the prison officials as a functionary of government which then means it doesn't understand that the only interactive operative prison officials have with society is that of accountability, specifically treatment of the imprisoned and how it readies and prepares them for release in a practical manner and not self-serving sloganeering for budgetary opportunities.

Instead, IAHR's behavior on March 30th, 2017, revealed it has a fantasy, an idea, a supposition that prison officials are to be reasoned with, cajoled or implored. Which then upends the only relevant fact: Which as I've stated, prison officials are functionaries of government and are bound by law, procedures, and policies to which they must and can only be held accountable.

Had IAHR interacted with ROSP officials within accountability imperative and context it wouldn't have accepted Virginia Department of Corrections and ROSP's  pre-condition for the tour, that it shouldn't talk to prisoners, whom it claims its advocacy is for?  Maybe prison officials wouldn't have permitted the tour. But then IAHR could have challenged such a decision and the obvious lack of accountability by 1. Legal action to obtain access to ROSP and 2. Politicizing the issue of access to ROSP and if it took a ballot initiative to specify public access to prisons which are governmental function funded by tax payers, so be it.

Instead on March 30th, 2017, IAHR and advocates for prison reform walked right past cells holding prisoners at Red Onion State whose conditions and experiences are the self-claimed basis and motive-force for the advocacy. Once again IAHR and prison reform advocates toured Solitary Confinement building at ROSP, walking right past cells that held and hold prisoners who experience daily violations of the United States, Virginia Law, and Prison procedures and policies. But because of a pre-condition that only mocked and undercut the very reason for prison reform advocacy, IAHR rendered itself impotent.

By William Thorpe

William Thorpe is held in Solitary Confinement at Virginia's Red Onion State Prison.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Accountability, Prison Reform Advocacy and the 13th Amendment

The focus on the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution as an educational tactical tool by prison reform advocacy is idealistic.

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." 
13th Amendment circa 1865

Focus on the above 13th Amendment places prison advocacy on the defensive and at a disadvantage. Because for example, let's take the state of Virginia. Virginia does not have specific laws of what it's imprisonment practices are. Despite the existence of Virginia Code Title 53.1 which deals with: Prisons and other methods of correction, it has consciously and purposefully omitted specificity of its prison related law.

What Va. Code 53.1 does is, it sets up parameters. So for example, Va Code 53.1-32 "treatment and control of prisoners; recreation; religious service speaks to employment, training, and education of prisoners and Va. Code 53.1-32-1 references payment or wages but in a pedestrian manner. Meaning Va Code 53.1-32.1 do not embrace the 13th amendment, nor does Virginia Legislative Action specify wages       what it does codify at Va. Code 53.1-32.1 "Classification system; program assignment; mandatory participation" @ F, is..."inmates employed pursuant to Article 2 (53.1-31 et seq.) of chapter 2 of this title shall not be deemed employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia or its agencies and shall be ineligible for benefits under chapter 29 (sec. 2.2-2900 et seq) of title 2.2, Chapter 6 (sec. 60.2-600 et seq) of title 60.2, chapter 5 (sec.65.2-500 et seq) of title 65.2 or any other provisions of  the code pertaining to the rights of state employees. "[unquote] 

What is significant and noteworthy is the degree of specificity to which Virginia keeps at arm's length any hint of prisoners being employees of the state, despite the fact in all other regards Virginia prisoners are subjects of the state. On the question of wages, Virginia leaves its response to the undemocratic and non-legislative speculations of the State Board of Corrections and the Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The point I'm making and the motive-logic behind "vapac" [Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee] is people, the citizenry needs to know and understand that what goes on in Virginia prisons or any prison system for that matter [because the lack of specificity in-laws governing the prison condition isn't limited to Virginia] are consequences of ideas, prison officials [who are no more qualified than any drunken bum under a bridge] have about how to treat a prisoner.

So, for example, the idea and practice of Virginia prisoners confined in Solitary [segregation] only permitted 2 phone calls a month are simply that "ideas," the Virginia Legislature neither debated it as law nor it passed it. Virginia prisons officials enacted it because Va. code 53.1-10 "powers and duties of Director" permits the Director of the Virginia Dept. of Corrections statutorial authority to "speculate" on what his administration and governance will be. So regardless and irrespective of how the 2 phone call a month idea was concluded and decided on, the fact remains: That it is simply that someone's idea.

On the question of ideas, let's take for example the idea why drivers and passengers should wear seatbelts in cars. It's an idea based on scientific and measurable fact. Meaning science-physics instructs that if one is in a vehicle unrestrained by a seatbelt and there is a crash, you will keep moving forward till you smash into the dashboard or windshield, incurring injuries beyond the initial crash. So the requirement seat belts are worn in vehicles is based on science and not idealistic-speculation.

So on what science is the practice of 2 phone calls a month for Virginia prisoners confined in Solitary [segregation] based on? Despite whatever logic prison officials dredge up, what is ignored as prison officials experiment on prisoners, is the prisoner, not proxy for exercising and playing out fantasies by the state as it develops the social-contract. Virginia prison officials bandy about a term "evidence based program" to cloak their speculative treatment of prisoners as science based. But none of it is. Which is why the Virginia Legislature, left the notion of what is the imprisonment condition up to prison officials with a wink and nod, understanding that the social-contract mandates of the state can be one-dimensionally and superficially pursued by the surrogacy of un-elected prison officials.

What prison advocacy the reform movement has to orient from is the position: If people are imprisoned as a result of the social contract and if prison is a function of government and if government is "off, by and for people," then the people have every right to question determine whether treatments being done to prisoners in their name are valid and not the sadistic ideas of less enlightened minds for the sake of mere gratuitous cruelty. Because in all other aspects and facets of society and its consciousness, the trend and imperative are towards enlightenment. But, only when it concerns prisons and the treatment of prisoners do we encounter a speculative, idealistic hodgepodge. So what happens is: The one facet of society that requires society's full throttled enlightenment, it its treatment of its members who violate and run afoul of its laws      is where we find society retreating from enlightenment and behaving and displaying the exact impulses that resulted its citizens to do that which landed them in prison [regardlessof reason] In conclusion. Yes as we do the work of demanding accountability of social-contrast, as we focus on the antagonisms of the 13th Amendment and its endorsement of the par none ahumanistic relation, slavery. Nonetheless, as a tactical response to the struggle of holding the imprisonment practice and it's prison official subjective, accountable, it's merely an intellectual speculative exercise.

Constitutions, laws, procedures, policies, and practices do not precede the human condition. Instead the human condition defines constitutions and laws, naturally, the dominant narrative will frame their utility    and redefining the narrative, not constitutions or laws but the socio-narrative is the work of prison reform advocacy, because once there is a cleansing of the narrative of its status quo impulses that have nothing to do with the practice of justice, then our political action will be practical and up to the task.

By William Thorpe held in Solitary Confinement at Virginia's Red Onion State Prison

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Prisoners Wife By Asha Bandele: A Review

The book is supposedly A Love Story. But I don't know what to make of it---It's too full of recriminations, regrets, resentments, and condescension to be a result of love, as love is understood by the human condition.

The setting for this "Love" is Prison, not any prison for that matter but the insidious and
Machiavellian enterprise of an American prison, The Department of Corrections of The State of New York. The story is a reflection of the tumultuous state of American cultural expression and it's subjective, American Hearts and Minds, because if the cultural and emotional expression of the human is simply a sum of character, then love as the ultimate value of emotion and its medium culture will reflect the state and nature of its subjective. Emotion in the most sublime of conditions and environment is still a strange and mysterious beast, add the ingredient of the most alienative and perverted environmental condition known to humanity, prison and what will you have? What you should have is the sum value of human character, that baptism by fire through adversity, that qualitative redemption from the disjointedness of chaotic quantity but Ms. Bandele fails to even have an inkling of the maxim "I'm Solitude made Man" ---- Solitude which in this context is anguish, that accomplice of love, love which she claims.

The author's emotional consciousness is either objectively malnourished or her alienation from the objectivity of her femininity is so complete that she is confused, She mistakes the adventurous inclination of her Eros with that most consuming of emotions, "Love". Whether or not she wants to face up to and has the presence of mind to acknowledge it, she simply had a stimulating adventure with a prisoner, a test in that most simplistic and primitive of human urges, self-gratification in its motive of one-upmanship. As she tongue in cheek, succinctly puts it "I wanted to be important to someone again" [ pp.27]

For starters, Rashid her beloved, lover and subsequent husband is too one-dimensional and acquiescent, an emasculated corollary of collateral damage from the war between the sexes submitting disgracefully to his wife Asha's each and every undisciplined desire an infantile idealism for whatever it is and was, that was between them to be of that higher human emotion, Love, The only excusable rationalization for his behavior is the stimulus of the relationship in-it self and its satisfying impact on his "...Scorched-Earth" [pp.165] psyche was enough to overlook the dominance of his wife and that spells eunuchism.

Asha, on the other hand, would have us, readers believe that her most yearned for desire and sought for reality is to have her imprisoned mate free and with her, yet when she is impregnated, granted the germinating testimonial seed of their love, she has no problem aborting the fetus.

What is striking and revealing is at every turn of the way, their way and obstacles crop up, which in the general sense, with its solution or how they contend with it would enable their humaneness to define and give credibility to the love they purportedly share both fail its qualification pathetically. Rashid the prisoner and husband for being effeminate and obeisant to his wife's each and every indulgence and Asha the wife for misplacing her need for self-affirmation and its redemptive catharsis with love.

The author presents an unstated and treacherous premise that the pursuit of emotional, mental and physical communion between the imprisoned human and a free one is utterly unrealistic, futile and its fidelity is unattainable--- this premise itself raises the question of what role if any those higher sentient and sapient potentials of humanness plays in the condition of love, not as we misconstrue it to be but as we aspire it to be. If as we are wont to say that love has many facets and conditions then Rashid and Asha's rank at that, no greater than the sum of their undeveloped psyches. What then is Ms. Bandele telling us, "that the spirit is willing but the body is weak"? Or the whole relationship was nothing more than an academic project that is now bearing fruit with her writing a book about it.

To make a long story short "The Prisoners Wife" is a story of relationship between male and female and their dishonesty and inability in coBming to terms with the fact that they lacked the manhood and womanhood to develop, nurture and sustain love in that most stifling of environments------Prison.

I close with Asha Bandele invoked Assata Shakur's
"...If I know anything at all
it's that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all.

It can be brought down."
And for 219 pages made a mockery of it with erecting that most noxious of walls       

By William Thorpe, I am detained in Solitary Confinement at Virginias Red Onion State Prison