Abruptly Transferred from Buckingham Correctional Center to Sussex 2 State Prison
By Uhuru B. Rowe
September 5, 2016
Greetings to all of you. I pray that all of you are well and that you remain full of love and hope as we struggle to survive and thrive in a system which seeks to spread fear, hate, distrust and division among the people of the earth. This post is somewhat of an extension of my August 27 post titled “Deja vu: Total Lockdown #2.”
What preceded my abrupt transfer to this high security prison on September 2 was a series of group fights among prisoners from rival groups on August 24 and 25, a subsequent lockdown on August 25 and an interrogation of me by Institutional Gang Investigators. Keep in mind I am not a gang member and have not been involved with gangs for approx eight years. These investigators claimed to have gained information from other prisoners that I am a Black Panther, a gang member, and the mastermind behind an ALLEGED planned work strike on September 9, all at once. When the investigators realized that I was immune to their intimidation tactics, I was called down to their office on August 26 for further interrogation by L. Leatherwood, the Chief state gang investigator for the Virginia Dept. of Corrections. When this proved fruitless, I was subjected to a urine test because of a strong “suspicion” that I was using drugs. Because I have been clean for nearly two decades, I was not surprised when the test came back negative. I am a staunch advocate against illegal/illicit drug use, especially among our youth.
The interrogation of a select few of other so-called “problem” inmates continued throughout that weekend, and finally, on September 1, I was informed by the floor officer of my unit that I needed to take my possessions to the property dept. because I was being transferred to another facility the next day. I knew this day would come. I just didn’t know when. The reason for the transfer became clear, when officer Patterson, while processing my property, told me that she was instructed by Operations Officer P. Long to confiscate my political literature. I was being transferred as a form of retribution because of my political beliefs. Several of my political pamphlets and the book “The Black Panthers Speak” were confiscated even though they were legal for me to have.
So around 2am on September 2, I was awakened from my sleep by the floor officer and instructed to report to the medical department to await my transfer. And there I set with four other prisoners for four hours until we were summoned to the personal property department. Once there, we were chained up and made to wait an additional two hours until we were finally taken to transport.
Though I was being shipped off for political reasons, the sights and sounds of the free world momentarily helped me to deal with the situation. The trees, cars, people, buildings, stray dogs and cats, the smell of exhaust fumes, they all were somewhat pleasing to my senses and yet seemed so foreign and unreal to me. I began to feel like a fish out of water. An alien from outer space. Suddenly, I began to feel overwhelmed, anxious and panicky. I came to prison at barely 18 years of age and I’ve always been opposed to this criminal injustice system. But it never occurred to me that, as much as I’ve opposed this system and after many years of confinement, I had become slightly institutionalized.
Because we are locked in our cells so much, I am in need of funds to pay for my phone calls and to buy stamps, envelopes, ink pens, writing paper, and late night snacks to quench the hunger pains. These cannot be sent to me. I’m only allowed to purchase these things from the prison commissary. So, if you have any funds you can donate to me so that I can purchase these things, you can send them to me through http://www.JPay.com.
We arrived at this prison around noon and went through the usual round of mental and physical tests a new intake has to endure when arriving at a new prison to determine our medical and psychological needs. My first impression of this prison is that it is all about super controlled movement. We stay locked down in our cells for a majority of the day. That is the norm here. We are allowed outside and day room recreation three or four days a week if we are lucky. Sometimes we are fed in our cells for the entire day.There are K9 dogs in front of the buildings and armed guards up above on those days when we are allowed to walk to the cafeteria or go out for recreation. I am told that the guns contain both lethal and nonlethal ammunition and that the dogs have been trained to bite all the way through to the bone.
The guards here (a majority of whom are Black) have much less respect for prisoners. There is a strong “us verses them” mentality among the guards. The prisoners get very little respect. Like the prisoners at Buckingham, there is not a comparable, discernible “us verses them” mentality among prisoners. The food is five times worse in both quality and portion size than at Buckingham. Like Buckingham, the showers here are filthy and no cleaning supplies are present so we can sanitize our living quarters. On the inside of this facility there are razor wire topped fences every few feet. If there is one “good” thing about here, it is this prison has air conditioning. Sometimes it gets so cold that I have to wear a coat in the day room and at night while sleeping. This is a huge difference from the sweltering heat I had to endure at Buckingham.
I was only allowed to bring 50% of my possessions with me on the transport bus. Because we are locked in our cells so much, I am in need of funds to pay for my phone calls and to buy stamps, envelopes, ink pens, writing paper, and late night snacks to quench the hunger pains. These cannot be sent to me. I’m only allowed to purchase these things from the prison commissary. So, if you have any funds you can donate to me so that I can purchase these things, you can send them to me through http://www.JPay.com. JPay will wire the funds directly to my commissary account.There is a small fee to use this service. Any amount will help.
In closing, I want to express my sincerest gratitude for all of you who have supported me and my blog. This has truly been an amazing trans-formative journey and I am glad that you have chosen to be a part of it. The struggle continues…