Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Pocahontas State Correctional Center - Federal

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out 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.

[Drugs] [Digital Mail] [Pocahontas State Correctional Center] [Virginia]

Virigina Department of Corrections Smuggle Drugs and Extort Prisoners

Today, July 30, 2022, a Saturday at 7:30 AM, a helicopter flew close to this prison’s yard. We had just been let out into the yard as cattle are moved through the fencing and gates. Two minutes later they shut down the yard and herded us all back into the building. The staff said they had to “search the yard”: never mind that the helicopter did not fly over the yard for more than a second; never mind that the amount of drugs on this compound are at an all-time high, and flowing in freely as the Virginia Department of Corrections (VA DOC) attempts to stop it all fail short. There is a reason for this, but, let me back up a bit.

Years ago, before my wrongful conviction and unlawful captivity, the VA DOC decided that, in order to prevent the flow of contraband, all mail should be photocopied. Certainly, if the VA DOC prisoners were no longer receiving actual mail they could not be receiving the contraband sent in “by family and friends”. Even though, statistically, this is a non-sequitur flying in the face of known logic and the real cause of the problem, the VA DOC went ahead with the foolish plan and the contraband still flowed.

At some point it was decided that all incoming property, books for example, while coming directly from companies such as Amazon, would be subjected to a hold and search. This search would include x-ray and dogs. Logic would dictate that with all mail (except legal mail) being photocopied with the originals shredded and all property subjected to extensive and excessive searches, the VA DOC would nip that contraband problem in the bud. Unfortunately for the VA DOC, and, as per usual, that did not work out as planned.

The VA DOC decided that stripping prisoners before and after every in-person visit was logical as their other foolish attempts. It was invasive, excessive, and it solved nothing. At one point the VA DOC put a policy in place mandating that visitors who were menstruating remove their tampons before being allowed to have their visitation with their loved ones. This was in 2018 and the VA DOC was even able to come up with a spokeswoman, Lisa Kinney, to actually defend this insane action. The VA DOC was eventually forced to drop this depraved barbarism, but attempt speaks clearly enough. Also, the problem of contraband persisted.

Then COVID hit. Pocahontas State Correctional Center, like most prisons, took the low road and instead of reducing prison populations by 60-70% as recommended by every major health group (The Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization), PSCC went on to a full 24/7 lockdown. What better way to ensure the spread of a deadly disease is there? No visits of any kind; an even longer hold on mail; food delivered to the cells; top tier and bottom tier separated and for periods of time only one cell out for 10 minutes at a time, twice a day - these were the implementations put onto us. PSCC, and all prisons, had now become maximum-security prisons “as ordered by the CDC” (contrary to, actually). Somehow, despite all this, that contraband just kept coming through the gates. Figure that one out.

Just recently, the VA DOC, in their increasingly impressive – and wholly questionable – exercise of critical thinking, finally figured out the cause: It must be the legal mail. Local courts and lawyers: the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Fourth Circuit and the U.$. Supreme Court. These must be the culprits…you cannot make this stuff up. Now, along with the dizzying array of failed policies that have produced exactly zero results, the VA DOC implemented a policy that illegally routed all legal mail to a “centralized processing unit” to be put through some search or another. It is all clearly nefarious, but, more importantly, it is a grotesque violation of constitutional rights – specifically, the Sixth and Fourteenth amendments (attorney/client privilege, access to the courts and due process). This epic display of intelligence went into effect July 1, 2022. Shortly after we spent 10 days on a lockdown without reason. Finally, the contraband problem was dealt with. This time for sure, right? Wrong!

The contraband keeps coming through the gates. It always will because the VA DOC is not looking at the root of the problem. To be more precise, the VA DOC is deliberately and willfully ignorning the root of the problem. It knows what the problem is, and it has known it all along. Acknowledging the problem opens a can of worms in Virginia’s already long history of destruction. The VA DOC contraband problem is a staff problem. The VA DOC doesn’t want citizens to know that it is no more than a colossal failure, and its staff are mostly criminals. Along with all the other, endless, false data the VA DOC feeds the public (low recidivism, nutrition standards, medical care, educational opportunities, everything), Virginia wants to hide the truth about its staff smuggling contraband.

For those familiar with PSCC this should come as no surprise. A large portion of PSCC staff are facing some level of in-house complaints, or worse. As of this writing, the Assistant Warden is allegedly facing multiple sexual harassment suits at more than one prison, including PSCC. The current Major, head of “security”, was chased off of at least one other compound for his gross abuses. One of the guards here is facing a lawsuit for physically assaulting a Black prisoner while the prisoner was handcuffed. The alleged incident was racially motivated – the guard has a long history of such behavior – and the incident is also currently the focus of a growing anti-Semitism case. The point is that the VA DOC, and Virginia as a whole, would much rather sweep problems out of the public eye, and let them fester. If it won’t investigate the more serious issues surrounding obviously sociopathic activities by its staff, why bother with a majority of its staff being involved in a smuggling ring? The VA DOC costs the taxpayers $1.1 billion, 25% of Virginia’s entire budget. Citizen’s hard-earned money.

Citizens, you are being lied to, openly, and you are being robbed. This is called a “complicated confidence scheme,” and you are all falling for it.

[Gender] [Censorship] [Grievance Process] [Pocahontas State Correctional Center] [Keen Mountain Correctional Center] [Virginia]

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.

[Racism] [Religious Repression] [Pocahontas State Correctional Center] [Virginia]

Covid in kitchens and Racism with New Warden

I want to make a few reports pertaining to conditions at Pocahontas State Correctional Center in Pocahontas, Virginia. the first issue I want to report is that since the arrival of the new warden, Tikki Hicks, that instances of discrimination have skyrocketed. Staff are flagrantly targeting prisoners of minority ethnicity, religion, and nationality, as well as homosexuals and gender variant prisoners. Prisoners who receive the kosher diet are being given spoiled meals, rotten fruits and vegetables, and foods that have gone beyond their expiration date. Prisoners of majority religions, ethnicity, etc. are fed much better and with larger portions. Since the arrival of the new warden this prison has become little more than a cleverly disguised concentration camp. Warden Hicks, a woman of color, either condones this repugnant behavior or she is impotent and unable to control her staff. All of our complaints have fallen on deaf ears or have simply vanished.

The next issue pertains to introduction of Covid-19 into the prison. Infractions and outbreaks consistently began with inmate kitchen workers who contracted the infection from kitchen staff. There is no means to detect illness or to prevent it from entering the facility. Inmate kitchen workers are not permitted to leave their jobs under threat of disciplinary action and must go to work or risk an increase in sentence length. Prisoners at this prison must risk their health and even their lives just to get a meal. Once again our complaints fall on deaf ears or are simply lost.

The final issue pertains to prisoner education. The security officer in the education department is aggressive, verbally abusive, threatening, and harassing. Prisoners simply do not want to go to the educational department because of this officer – Frank D. Kimble. Many GED students are willing to give up their education and force disciplinary action rather than be terrorized daily by this officer. And again, our complaints fall on deaf ears and are ignored or lost.

For a Better Tomorrow.

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