Life at Sussex 2 State Prison – Revisited

May 29th, 2018

NOTE: JPay, the app/program that is basically prisoner email that you have to pay for, indeed, pay more for then it costs to mail a letter, and the Virginia DOC censored the following.  But here it is in its entirety.

 

Well, it finally happened!  The harsh and overly oppressive conditions we are subjected to at Sussex 2 State Prison (S2SP), which I described in a similar-titled post back in December of 2016, made the front page of a mainstream newspaper.  But it didn’t get there without sacrifice.  Dale Lee Pughsley; also known as Askeri Danso, upon arriving at this maximum security prison in march of this year, was appalled by the level of passivity among the prisoner-class in the face of inhumane prison conditions.  And so he did what any politically active prisoner would do when confronted with similar circumstances: he organized others to peacefully challenge those conditions by filing complaints with the prison’s grievance department.  As expected, retaliation was swift.  On April 24th, while on his way back to his cell from the prison’s law library, he was accosted and shackled by guards and immediately shipped across the street to Sussex 1 State Prison – a level 5 security prison – and placed in solitary confinement.  Because he is supported by several activist and human rights groups such as – the Coalition for Justice, the Defenders of Freedom, Justice and Equality – his ordeal made headlines in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on May 7th.  The front-page article, titled “Politically Active Va. Prisoner Moved Three Times Since ’16,” allowed Askari to expose conditions like poor water quality, substandard medical care, and overcrowding.  He was quoted as saying that S2SP “is the worst prison in the state.”  I agree!

Continue reading “Life at Sussex 2 State Prison – Revisited”

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Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview with Khali Pyatt, Part 3

The Free Virginia Movement Presents:

Live From Behind Enemy Lines:
An Interview with Khali Pyatt, Part 3
By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 26, 2018

This is the last part of a three-part interview I conducted with Khali, my cellmate. After telling us more about some of his experiences in prison, he’s about to give some powerful words of wisdom to the youth who may be on the road to prison.

Part 3

Uhuru: Khali, in the second part of this interview you were talking about how prison authorities mistreat our loved-ones. I can definitely attest to the fact that these people do, in fact, mistreat our loved-ones when they come here for visitation. Just this past Sunday when my disabled mother came to visit me, she was forced to sit in the waiting room for almost three hours before they allowed her in to see me. What they have to go through in order to visit us — the long waiting periods, the aggressive searches, having to pass through an X-ray machine — it’s all very dehumanizing. And it begs the question: If a strong and positive relationship with our loved-ones is essential to our rehabilitation in prison and our successful reentry back into society after prison, why are prison authorities working so hard to discourage these relationships?

Continue reading “Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview with Khali Pyatt, Part 3”

Announcing the Free Virginia Movement!

By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 1, 2017
E-mail: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

WHY THE FREE VIRGINIA MOVEMENT?

A Federal law known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) includes a provision called the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth in Sentencing Incentive Grants (VOITIS) which provides grants to state and local correctional systems to expand their capacity to incarcerate violent offenders and impose larger and more determinate sentences.
Continue reading “Announcing the Free Virginia Movement!”

Boycott Keefe 2015

This statement is intended to keep the Keefe boycott fresh on the agenda for
2015. In the wake of organized strikes in prisons all over the country in 2013 and 2014; the recent national multiracial protests surrounding the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the grand jury’s decision not to indict their murderers — Officers Daniel Pantaleo and Darren Wilson; and the October Month of Resistance against mass incarceration, police terror, repression, and the criminalization of a generation, the conditions under which the prisoner-class is being subjected to is ripe for resistance.
Keefe Commissary Network Sales (Keefe) is a private mega-conglomerate
corporation that has taken over commissary operations inside numerous prisons and jails across America. There is no question that Keefe is price-gouging prisoners. Nor is there a question that the goods/products Keefe sells to prisoners are of a poor and defective quality. The question is what actions can we take that can lead to qualitative changes in our environment?

Our torturous, prolonged confinement is the result of “tough on crime” political rhetoric and “truth-in-sentencing” laws enacted in the early to mid-90’s which made federal grants available to any state willing to abolish parole and mandate its prisoners to serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed.

One such law is the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VC-
CLA), which was sponsored by then-Texas US Representative Jack Brooks and
signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This Act included a provision called
Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing incentive grants (VOITIS)
which provided funds to state and local correctional systems to expand their capacity to incarcerate violent offenders and to impose longer and more determinate
sentences.

According to the Office of Justice Programs within the US Dept. of Justice, between 1996-1998 28 states received over $680 million in truth-in-sentencing incentive grants in exchange for abolishing parole and implementing this so called 85% law. Virginia received a total of $11,201,786 during this period. According to the General Accounting Office, 15 out of 28 states indicated that these grants were either a main or partial factor in their enactment of truth-in-sentencing legislation, including Virginia. In reality, these states traded human lives in exchange for capital (money) to expand the Prison Industrial Complex.

We can bear witness to how private monopoly corporations like Keefe, JPay, Global Tel Link, GEO group, ACA, etc. had a vested interest in and benefited from the passage of VCCLA and VOITIS.
Because we of the prisoner-class are imprisoned pursuant to the political agenda stated
above, we are ALL political prisoners. Therefore, in response, we must become polit-
ical, and stop being willing pawns in a system that has brought nothing but death, de-
struction, and despair to the New Afrikan (Black), Brown, and poor white communities.
Don’t order a so-called gift package from Keefe’s subsidiary, Access Secure Pak.
Buy only essential items from the private prison commissary, such as hygiene prod-
ucts, stationery, stamps, and survival foods like Ramen soups and peanut butter. If you file a complaint against Keeefe with the Consumer Protection Division at PO Box 899, Jefferson City MO 65102 they will issue you a case number where you
can compile evidence and related documents in regards to Keefe’s price-gouging
tactics. File complaints with the Federal Trade Commission at 600 Pennsylvania
Ave., Washington DC 20580. Send them copies of commissary price lists and your commissary receipts.  Every complaint we file and every collective step we take will
“cause a ripple in the ocean of oppression” to quote my comrade B. Nimrod.
Power to the prisoners who don’t fear justice!