Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Buckingham Correctional Center - Federal

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www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[Abuse] [Gender] [Buckingham Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 80]
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Strike Force Executes Surprise Pre-Dawn Raid in B1 Pod at Buckingham Corr Center

11 October 2022 – Around 2:05 AM, Tuesday morning, I was jolted out of my sleep by a familiar sound. Yes, that familiar sound of Strike Force rushing into the pod to execute one of their surprise raids. I didn’t even have to get out of my bed to see what was going down. Like I said, it’s a familiar sound of feet stomping, door slamming, guards shouting, and dogs barking.

An elder Panther told me years ago to always observe the guards during raids just in case they violate the constitutional rights of a fellow prisoner – or even worse kill one of us. So, I got up to witness the chaos out of practice. The scene is always the same.

During the wee hours of this Tuesday morning, Strike Force, accompanied by institutional investigators, were rushing to a pre-selected number of cells (my cell was not chosen this time. Thank god!), banging on cell doors to confuse and disorient occupants. Inside the cells, people were forced to strip naked, lift their testicles, squat and cough, and bend over, reach back, and spread their butt cheeks (this is done in full view of officers looking from the front and behind) before handcuffing their hands behind their back. The K-9s (drug sniffing dogs) were taken into each cell to find drugs, which always create sanitary issues, because the dogs sometimes sniff, lick, and tread on our bed sheets and laundry, leaving behind dirt, drool, and possibly feces. Replacement sheets and laundry are never issued, and they weren’t this time.

Strike Force then entered and ransacked each cell in search of any contraband the K-9s couldn’t find. Their personal property, including letters and family photos, are tossed around the cell for good measure. A lot of property is trashed and confiscated.

Other strike force members searched areas in the pod – in the trash cans, in the showers, under tables, on top of ceiling lights – for contraband that may have been hidden there.

I observed the chaos for two hours before getting back in bed to sleep. I found out later that this pod, B1, had been placed on lockdown all day Tuesday for unspecified reasons. We were allowed out of our cells on Wednesday morning.

I’ve been subjected to these surprise pre-dawn raids many times during my imprisonment. And I can tell you they are quite dehumanizing and retraumatizing. Can you imagine being jolted from your sleep in the early morning, being forced to strip naked and bend over and spread your butt cheeks while a stranger stands behind you and looks in your anus for contraband? It is so humiliating and emasculating. And every time I’ve been asked to do it, something inside me (perhaps my manhood?) always makes me want to refuse. Because deep down inside, I know it is not done to find drugs, but to remind us we have no agency. And that prison staff have utter and complete control over every aspect of us, even the most intimate parts of our bodies. But refusal means a write up, a rousting, time in solitary, or more time in prison. So, what can we do?

What I and many other incarcerated folks can refuse to do is be silent by writing about these abuses and sending them out into the free world hoping they’ll change people’s perceptions of these prisons and how the people locked in these cages are being treated in the name of “public safety”.

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[Environmentalism] [Abuse] [Campaigns] [Nottoway Correctional Center] [Buckingham Correctional Center] [Augusta Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 79]
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Shut Down Prisons with No Air Conditioning During Dangerous Heat Wave as Global Warming Advances

Have you ever opened the door to a hot oven and felt dizzy and overwhelmed from the intensity of the heat hitting you in the face? That is how it feels for people incarcerated at Augusta, Nottoway, and Buckingham Correctional Centers every summer, but especially during the current heat wave sweeping the country.

But get this: prison staff at these facilities do not experience excessive heat conditions because the areas in which they work and frequent — the control booths, school areas, medical department, education department, administration offices, etc. – are all equipped with air conditioning (AC).

While the U.$. and other parts of the world, like Western Europe, are experiencing unprecedented deadly heat waves, people trapped in prisons, jails, and detention centers not equipped with AC in the areas where they housed are suffering exponentially from these sweltering conditions.

For instance, if it is 100 degrees for those of you on the outside, the temperature is always several degrees higher for those of us confined in prisons not equipped with AC. With the lack of AC, poor ventilation, substandard medical care, unsafe drinking water, big slabs of concrete that trap heat, antiquated sewage systems that regularly back up and spew raw sewage into the cells and housing units, and the persistence of COVID-19 which is still spreading and infecting people at these facilities, all of these conditions on top of record high temperatures create unbearable conditions that are tantamount to the kind of cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the eighth amendment to the U.$. constitution. Sick and elderly people confined under these conditions suffer the most.

So, is there a need for an intersecting movement for prison abolition? The short answer is “Yes,” because when environmentalists talk about how climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and how the impact of this is felt most by people in Third World countries least responsible for climate pollution, the ways in which climate change impacts people in confinement are often left out of conversations about climate justice. This is a blind spot that will cause incarcerated and detained people to suffer and die in silence and invisibility during future heat waves.

Of course, I believe prisons in general should be abolished and demolished, but right now, due to the immediacy of the current situation, we need prison abolitionists and climate justice activists to unite, and once united, collectively raise your voices to bring awareness to this issue and demand change to prevent the needless suffering and death of incarcerated human beings amid record high temperatures due to global warming.

One way you can do this is by signing and sharing this online petition to close Nottoway, Buckingham, and Augusta Correctional Centers.

This petition can be used to raise awareness about this public health crisis and as the foundation for a state-wide campaign to shut these prisons down.

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[Organizing] [Buckingham Correctional Center] [Sussex II State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 52]
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Transferred for Suspicion of Organizing a Work Stoppage and BPP-Prison Chapter

After an unfortunate series of group fights between prisoners from rival lumpen organizations during the month of Black August, and a subsequent lockdown at the Buckingham Correctional Center on August 25, two Institutional Gang Investigators (IGIs) descended upon my cell and subjected me to an intense 30-minute interrogation concerning confidential information they received that I was allegedly the mastermind behind a planned September 9 workstrike and was attempting to organize a Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter. They even accused me of being a member of a street gang based on a letter I wrote nearly seven years ago.

When the investigators realized that the interrogation was bearing no fruit and that I was immune to their intimidation tactics, I was subjected to further interrogation the following day by L. Leatherwood, the Chief Investigator for the VA DOC, and a urine test because of a strong "suspicion" that I was using drugs. I was not at all surprised when the urine test came back negative because I have been clean for a decade and am a staunch advocate against illicit drug use, especially among youth.

The interrogation of a select few other so-called "problem" inmates continued throughout the weekend, and whatever "evidence" or information the investigators gained or manufactured, led to my being transfered to Sussex 2 State Prison, which is an oppressive, super-max type prison where we are locked down in our cells for most of the day. Controlled movement and the degradation of those of us confined here is the order of the day. Unlike Buckingham, which is a hotbed of political activity, there is virtually no organizing here. No study groups, no agitation, no resistance. Most have never heard of the September 9 protests. The old axiom "oppression breeds resistance" has not taken hold of the prisoners' minds here.

Though I was shipped off to this camp for political reasons, repression and retaliation is often a sign that our agitation is truly effective. I am not in a position to report on the degree to which prisoners at Buckingham participated in the September 9 protests, but here at Sussex 2 State Prison there was zero participation. But we must continue to fight and struggle knowing that one day, when the conditions are right, the flicker will turn into a flame. All power to the people and Panther power to the Black Riders Liberation Party!

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