Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee: March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Advocacy To Action On New Mail Room Policy

Advocacy to Action On New Offender Mail Policy

The Virginia Department of Corrections has Revised the Incoming Offender Mailroom policy from the old policy.
The old policy VADOC O.P. 803.1 clearly states that Prisoners are allowed personal mail only weighing 1 oz., which is 5 sheets of paper FRONT AND BACK  but this new mailroom policy will eliminate the writing ON THE BACKBecause they are only copying on three sheets of paper. ( 1 oz. = 5 sheets of front to back pages which = 2 1/2 sheets of paper, including the copying of the envelope this will = the 3 sheet of paper). We the members of "Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee" [vapac] PROTEST  against this new policy as it will:
  • The new mailroom policy DEPRIVES FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF SENDING COLOR PHOTOS  because the mailroom memo says everything will be copied in BLACK AND WHITE yet photos from commercial vendors will be ALLOWED in color, because, as the memo doesn't cover photos from commercial vendors.--O.P 803.1 allows photos from commercial vendors.      
We at "Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee question VADOC mailroom change. Is it the VADOC prefers family and friends to use "Jpay"  ( thus again causing hardships for family and friends as some don't have access to all the new technologies of a computer or cell phone. Vapac understands that the VADOC  and Jpay get kickbacks from monies spent on emails and color photo attachments. Vapac also understands it seems to be too much work for on the mailrooms clerks, thus cutting back on incoming snail mail by CONTROLLING  how many pages family and friends can write.

The members of "Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee" [vapac] urge the Virginia Department of Corrections to RESCIND this new mailroom policy/procedure and keep the policy as it is now. There are many " assumptions" vapac members can make regarding this change, as it states in the above VADOC video, due to incoming contraband from mail, However, the VADOC has in place an effective way to keep contraband from incoming mail to prisoners, this is with VADOC K9 drug sniffing dogs and mailroom clerks. Also, there are NEW INNOVATIVE TOOLS  along with the K9 drug sniffing dogs, thorough hands-on searches by mailroom clerks,  the VADOC can implement in their mailroom searching procedures with NEW ILLICIT DRUG ANALYZING tools such as portable analyzers from varied ADVANCED technologies companies without causing hardships on family and friends and not to exclude the negative effects it will have on the psyche of our imprisoned loved ones where once our imprisoned loved ones were angry about food issues now there will be an added anger issues of incoming mail to prisoners for the VADOC  manage. Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee urge the VADOC again to rescind this new revised expensive hardship and deprivation on family, friends, AND prisoners.

Drafted for our Members and followers and those who want to join us in our fight against the new mailroom policy.

By vapac

Monday, March 27, 2017


We at vapac are challenging the "New Offender MailRoom Policy" stating [quote]
  • All Security Level 2 and above Institutions. All incoming offender general correspondence to include the envelope at security 2 and above institutions will be photocopied in the institutional mailroom and a maximum of (3) three black and white photocopied pages front and back will be provided to the offender.
  • The original envelope, letter, and all enclosed contents will be shredded in the institutional mailroom. Exceptions to this requirement include but are not limited to official legal, government and court ordered document. etc..
  • Offenders will be limited to receiving a maximum of 3 81/2 x 11, black and white photocopied pages front to back "including" the envelope etc..
  • Enclosed items will not be manipulated to print multiple items on a single photocopied page. etc..
  • The entire correspondence and all items that exceed the established photocopy or size limit will be returned to sender with the "notice of unauthorized correspondence" 803_F2 advising the sender of the reason for return.
 Below is an example of what we family and friends will receive from the institutional mailroom "notice of unauthorized correspondence" advising us the reason for the return.

  • Offenders will "currently" still be permitted to send messages, photographs, and other attachments through Jpay ect...   
We at vapac are placing on the link for the "old"/complete mail policy that friends and families of our imprisoned loved ones can study. (click on sentence to link up with old policy) One will see how "at odds" this new memo is with the old one.

  • We all must email the VADOC, The  Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, our Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe that this "new memo" will place "HARDSHIPS" on families because it limits letters. [O.P. 803.1 "allows" personal mail only weighing one 1 oz., which equals 5 sheets of paper = 1 stamp].
  • The new policy "DEPRIVES" families of sending "COLOR" photos because the mailroom says everything will be photocopied in black and white. Yet we are unclear if photos from commercial vendors will be allowed in color cause the new mail memo doesn't cover photos from commercial vendors.
  • O.P. 803.1 "allows" photos from commercial vendors.  
If it's about drugs as they claim? Why make it harder for everybody else? All the VADOC have to do is focus on whoever they catch/bust handling the situation as need be. What the VADOC should be doing is enforcing valid and thorough search procedures on their own employed prison guards within their prison? WATCH YOUR OWN EMPLOYEES!
    It will be an economic "Hardship" on families because they will be unable to write on front and back of 5 sheets of paper which as of 3/26/17 = 1 oz = 1 stamp. The new policy will cost double now (3 sheets of paper including copy of envelope on one of the 3 sheets) for a family to send a letter in two envelopes. The new memo is at odds with the O.P. 803.1 policy.

    We must fight this policy for our imprisoned loved ones! Vapac is getting reports of retaliation from C/O'S against prisoners for submitting grievances against this new policy, so we at Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee Must dig into the trenches with our imprisoned loved ones & help them fight this battle with the VADOC NEW MEMO POLICY

    The effective way is to Flood our Governmental officials and agencies in our opposition with complaints in emails, letters, phone calls, call your local radio stations, write letters to the editors of our local and national papers. Use our social media accounts to expose what is happening in the Virginia Department of Corrections as it will soon be carried out across our nation's Penal System. Figure into the cost of what it will cost taxpayers! Our average Virginian citizen that doesn't have an imprisoned loved one should be up in arms about this new policy, However, we are sure they remain unawares to this insane policy. As one of our vapac members stated "This policy is clearly an attempt at censorship! WE must expose this suppression of families to remain in contact with their imprisoned loved ones.  We want our voices to be heard out on the opposition to this new mail memo. Family and Friends in a focused manner, we must unite!

    Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee submits the following contacts:

    Mailing Address:
    Virginia Department of Corrections
    P.O. Box 26963 
    Richmond, VA 23261-6963
    General Email Address:
    Department Director's Email Address: 
    Phone Number:

    Governor Terry McAuliffe

    Mailing Address:
    Common Ground for Virginia
    P.O. Box 1475
    Richmond, VA 23218
    Twitter: @GovernorVA
    Facebook: @GovernorVA

    Attorney General
    Mark Herring
    Mailing Address:
    Attorney General's Office
    202 North Ninth Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    Phone: (804) 786-2071
    Twitter: @AGMarkHerring
    Facebook: @AGMarkHerring

    Related article:

    The mailroom may have no control over this new VADOC mailroom policy But we the Family and Friends of imprisoned loved ones in the Virginia Department of Corrections Do!
    By vapac

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Solitary Confinement Reform In Virginia Is All Talk and The Vera Institute Is Being Duped By William Thorpe

    $2.2 million and an association with the social good of correcting governmental barbarism is a reality few will resist and the Vera Institute of Justice can be understood but not excused for succumbing to its opportunity.  As a tool in the employ of Prison Officials, Solitary Confinement or Administrative Segregative, it's current euphemism has long since been understood as barbaric.  The U.S. Supreme Court in 1870 in it's in Re: Medley Ruling indicted its practice and excoriated its use.

    For over a hundred years critics of the practice of imposing Solitary Confinement on prisoners have railed against it and only during the Obama Presidency did the criticism gain traction. Nonetheless, practioners,  proponents, and defenders of its barbaric use have as all reactionaries responded with deflection.  whether it's with euphemism or and as with the case with the Virginia Department of Corrections [VADOC], exploiting affliction with NGO i.e. The Vera Institute of Justice     The intent is to maintain the practice and use of Solitary Confinement.

    VADOC has been playing a three card monte, a shell game of musical chairs, that old tired sleight of hand, two step shuffle of reactionary deceit while maintaining the practice of Solitary Confinement.  Despite press release after press release that it has reformed its use of Solitary Confinement at it's primary prison, Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] and other illegitimate claims concerning prisoner complaints and grievances, that purport to indicate operational ethics and management efficiency, the practice of Solitary Confinement and it's use at ROSP is maximum.

    After securing recognition from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Council of State Governments, Southern Legislative Conference and others, all of whom have their relative self interest, that VADOC's euphemistic scheme touting Solitary Confinement reform has dramatically reduced it's use at ROSP. VADOC has recently secured alliance with the Vera Institute of Justice to anoint it's "Solitary Confinement Reform" claims.  It is easy to understand the eagerness of Vera Institute, considering it is receiving $2.2 million from the U.S. Department of Justice, to attest in that idealistic usual congratulatory manner that VADOC is progressive.  While turning a blind eye to the reality ongoing at ROSP Solitary Confinement.

    What Solitary Confinement reform looks like are: the headlines coming out of California with it's  Ashker v. California settlement.

    The almost daily news out of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3d circuit of the release from Solitary Confinement of prisoners confined for 29, 22,37 years to list a few.

    Virginia on the other hand, despite having it's share of prisoners in Solitary Confinement for 21 years and counting is conspicuously absent from the roll call of Solitary Confinement reformers and no amount of NGO affiliations and it's dupe of the Vera Institute can deflect and distort the fact that Solitary confinement  reform is all talk in  Virginia.

    By William Thorpe and I've been in Solitary Confinement in VADOC since 1996 and at ROSP since 1998

    Monday, March 6, 2017


    Red Onion State Prison [ROSP] Suicide Prevention Policy  (*NOTE* page 17 in VADOC policy and procedure 730.4/5) seems to be in practice: OC Pepper Gas the Suicidal Prisoner while the Prisoner is hanging with sheet around the neck, before prison guards in riot gear enter the cell to cut the Prisoner down. Don't forget the time it takes to put on the riot gear.

    On 2/19/17; @ Approx. 4:30 a.m. a Prisoner detained in ROSP C-Building #106 [Solitary Confinement] [who wants to remain anonymous] was hanging himself and the ranking officer in charge [OIC] authorized the OC Pepper Gassing of the hanging Prisoner before guards entered the cell to cut the Prisoner down.

    OC Pepper Gas is a debilitating toxin that causes a gag reflex which one would which one would think is the last thing a potential hanging victim should be subjected to.

    ROSP, Solitary Confinement Unit, C-Building has had at least 2 suicides over the past 2 1/2 years as well as others over the compound since its opening in 1998, (Its sister prison Wallens Ridge State Prison [WRSP] has had a few of its own as well since it's opening in 1999). Why are Prisoners dying and attempting to kill themselves at ROSP Solitary Confinement?

    By vapac

    *NOTE* vapac affirms Every day someone dies of suicide, A link to the facts:, 43,000 Americans per year and our imprisoned loved ones be not excluded. To our members who have loved ones on the inside, be aware of some of the warning signs and know their Rights While they are In Prison/Jail, the following link provides us with some legal Rights to advocate on behalf of our imprisoned loved ones be they need it, these are also the people we contact when there is suspicion of VADOC abuse and violations against our imprisoned Mentally Ill: 
    Criminal Justice Self-Advocacy
    Frequently Asked Questions: in Virginia. The NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness]
    NAMI Virginia’s Information Line And Email
    Phone: (804) 285-8264 (not a crisis line)
    Email Address:
    PO Box 8260
    Richmond, VA 23226-0260
    Crisis Lines:
    NAMI Virginia Area Crisis Line
    Crisis Line: 1 (888) 486-8264
    NAMI’s National Information Helpline
    (800) 950-NAMI
    References & Related articles
    VADOC Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Aerosol Spray

    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    Virginia Republicans Are Right On Ousting Virginia's State Inspector General June W. Jennings

    The Republican-led Virginia's House of Delegates Recently ambushed Governor Terry McAuliffe by voting not to reinstate his appointee, Virginia's Inspector General June W. Jennings and vapac supports the Republican move to oust June Jennings.

    During the tenure of State Inspector June Jennings, there have been a number of Prisoner deaths at Virginia's jails and prisons, specifically Red Onion State Prison [ROSP]. But more systemically are the food violations at ROSP, from its Food Service through prison guard malfeasance and misconduct to mistreatment of its mental health prisoners.

    Inspector General June Jennings has received numerous letters from prisoners at ROSP highlighting Virginia Department of Corrections [VADOC] policy and procedure violations by prison officials.  To which June Jennings has relatively ignored because "vapac" continues to receive complaints that the malfeasance and officer misconduct continues.

    Vapac urges the office of State Inspector General to administer oversight ensuring that there is accountability and transparency in Virginia prisons. That prison officials manage Virginia prisons by complying with U.S. Virginia law and VADOC procedures.

    By vapac
    *NOTE* By clicking on the right-hand Pop-Out option or at the end of this hand written letter you can tap on the zoom in/fit page option to get a clearer/darker view of a letter sent to June Jennings, by the way, there was never a response or acknowledgment by her or her department of receipt of this letter