Isolation Caused by Fascist Virginians
If you follow the news, you are well aware of a Virginian named Officer Edwards, who recently used police training to attempt to groom a teenage girl for eir pedophilic needs. When it didn’t pay off ey drove to California, murdered eir family, burned down eir house, and kidnapped the girl. Ey eventually died in a fire fight with California police. Around the same time, back at a Virginia Prison, a Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) guard named Owens at Keen Mountain Correctional Center shot a prison nurse to death. Ey was pregnant with the guard’s child and was threatening to tell Owens’ wife about eir affair. These are Virginians, and ey are the type of people who flock to jobs in corrections and law-enforcement in Virginia. Virginia officials will tell you they don’t know how people who are so dangerous slipped through the background checks. Virginia officials are lying to you because these are the people they look to recruit.
There are more subtle forms of this sociopathic behavior, and the guards and other staff at the notorious Pocahontas State Corruption Center exercise these forms of open torture daily. One of the most common is the deliberate tampering with mail. Two of the most often seen names are Hagerty and McCall. Aside from delaying outgoing mail, sometimes for weeks if ey send it out at all, incoming mail is often denied outright for any number of nonsensical and often false reasons. An example of this is the denial of a book review/catalog. The reason cited was “no nude or semi-nude images”. Upon investigation it was determined that “nude/semi-nude” was a tank top shirt. Absolutely nothing “nude or semi-nude” by any known standards of decency. Of course the target of this mail denial was a known political writer and the review catalog was from a publisher – Fifth Estate – that focuses on political themes (many of them anti-prison). What these two VA DOC employees did – mail tampering – is a federal crime.
This is just one example of a massive assault on the guarantees of the First Amendment. It is a common event that is meant to not only prevent communications from exposing the other criminal acts by PSCC staff, but it’s also a means of isolating the captives. It’s a vicious form of psychological torture and harm. Ey want the captives to believe that ey are alone – that ey are forgotten by eir friends and family. This is solely to make the captives not only more susceptible to further and more cruel abuses, but also to a force a level of acceptance of the abuse.
To further this endeavor it is important to prevent grievances and complaints from being seen by those at regional or Central (Richmond) administration. Though in all reality, since the Virginia DOC only recruits and promote from within its own insular institutions, the administrators at every meaningful level were hand-picked for eir silence and loyalty to the VA DOC. Without eir allowance of endless cruelty and torture, it could be stopped. Still, “grievance coordinators” such as C. Smalling at PSCC, whose unwritten job description is “grievance disappear-er” answers the grievances erself instead of routing them to the proper areas for re-dress. Ey makes sure they are not properly logged so that they disappear as needed. This is especially important in preventing lawsuits from being filed, something PSCC is prone to do due to its nationalist majority staff and their daily human rights abuses. Without an exhausted grievance process any lawsuit brought by a prisoner is immediately dismissed by the courts. In Virginia, even the federal court judges are Virginians.
Other more harmful – yet just as subtle – forms of torture and harm are the 24 hour lights, a gift from 15 years of Assistant Wardens who should be in prison themselves. Currently the PSCC Assistant Warden, Mr. Collins, is facing at least six sexual harassment suits at three different prisons including PSCC. They just move the guy from one prison to the next and fire the people who lodged the complaints.
Yet another way the staff abuse the captives is through an especially vicious misuse of the PA system. There are several ways to do this, but the two most common are as follows:
Three very dangerous guards, Barry, Sargent, and Shelton are particularly fond of turning the PA system up to full volume and screaming into the microphone. Since they work on the night shift you might imagine the problems this might cause for the captives. 9PM, 10PM, 12AM, 3AM, 5AM anytime they feel like scaring the living hell out of the 250 people and also disturbing their sleep. This sort of abuse is completely illegal yet all complaints are ignored or disappeared. These acts are a sign of sociopathic behavior and given that 40% of Virginia’s captives are warehoused mental health cases, it is so very devastating. The flip side to this is turning the PA system volume down so low that no one can hear announcements. This causes not only missed classes, programs, or medical appointments, but it also allows guards to justify all manner of false charges against captives – most often “disobey a direct order” or “unauthorized area”. Both are low level charges, but they cause sanctions and fines. They also make your record appear as if you are a problem all of the time, and if you get too many you will be transferred to a higher security prison.
Another regular problem comes from guards such as Craig, Bogle, Kimble and others like them – most of the guards. They are openly racist and anti-semitic, go out of their way to verbally (and sometimes physically) abuse anyone they are able to. On the boulevard, in the education and library buildings, in the chow hall, any place they are able to, and they get away with it repeatedly. This has gone on for years and years without any change or even the least reprimand. To give you a better idea of just how far it can go on PSCC’s compound, here is a scenario that happened recently:
A guard named Horton and his wife, also a guard, both work on the compound. This is a violation of policy for a lot of good sense reasons, but PSCC itself is a major violations of DOC policy and too many to count. Mrs. Horton, while married to one guard, is sleeping with several others on the compound during working hours. It is common knowledge to everyone. As you might expect, Mr. Horton gets fed up with his wife’s extramarital affairs and decides to solve the problem. This guy brings a loaded weapon THROUGH the gates – apparently staff were not checking guards as they came in – with the intend of making some examples. Those examples were going to be PRISONERS! Not the other guards who were involved with the wife, but PRISONERS! Fortunately a few guards stepped in and put a stop to this before anyone got hurt, but still, Mr. Horton is only fired and walked off the compound. Not a single criminal charge was brought even though he broke half a dozen laws. His wife was recently promoted to “counselor,” and he was just rehired to work at the same prison on the same shift as his wife.
Virginians and the VA DOC PSCC staff fed captives food that says “not for human consumption” on the box. Its medical staff is entirely unqualified in every way. Its psychologists do not have the experience to handle severe mental health issues and are even falsifying records to avoid even dealing with mental health because the facility (and the VA DOC) are simply not capable or designated to handle such issues. Add to this all the well-known and common place issues with corrupt prison staff – and put the prison in a well hidden county at the end of some “wrong turn” road in a state that seems to be growing its right wing neo-nazi extremist population. You have a real time disaster unfolding daily: the other 40 prisons in Virginia – a long time slave economy – are no better. On top of all that, add a 20% rate of innocence/wrongful conviction (approximately 5,000 people as of this writing). Harsh action must be taken to stop this madness.
MIM(Prisons) responds: MIM(Prisons) has been questioned online for our support of the campaign to fight the a recent rewrite of BP-03.91 in Texas, mostly to increase restrictions on sexually suggestive, non-nude photos. The example given by the comrade above is one of many that explain why we support that campaign despite stating clearly that we oppose pornography. Any increase in the restrictions on mail are going to be applied to stuff the pigs disagree with politically, because there is no free speech in this bourgeois dictatorship, only power struggles.
Of course, most pornography represents patriarchal and bourgeois morals. Morals that numerous gender-related acts of violence described by this author. We welcome reports like this, and print many on our website. But as the author states action must be taken, we really want your articles on campaigns and struggles against these types of abuses and organized repression.
Fight Censorship in Virginia