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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Politically active Va. inmate, now in solitary, transferred three times after complaints about prisons

Published in the Richmond Times Dispatch, May 6, 2018, by Patrick Wilson

A politically active Virginia prisoner who organized inmates to file grievances about medical care, staffing and water quality was recently transferred to a high-security prison and placed in solitary confinement. Supporters and his wife fear he is being unjustly punished for activism.

Askari Danso, whose legal name is Dale Lee Pughsley, promotes black history and Rastafarian groups in prisons and recently organized a petition asking for better medical care and staffing at Sussex II State Prison, where he formed a human rights committee for prisoners.

After he left the Sussex II law library on April 24, he said he and his cellmate were handcuffed and moved to Sussex I, where they were each put in solitary confinement.

 

Continue reading “Politically active Va. inmate, now in solitary, transferred three times after complaints about prisons”

Subjected to 14 days in hell because of my political activity

By Uhuru B. Rowe
May 24, 2018
E-mail: JPay app

Below is a brief outline of the events which preceded, and resulted in, my placement on Administrative Segregation in the Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) here at Sussex 2 State Prison (S2SP).

On May 4, I drafted a position paper titled, “A Call To Action,” which described, in detail, the harsh and inhumane conditions incarcerated citizens are subjected to here at S2SP. The position paper called for our loved ones, various activist groups, state legislators, and even the media to hold rally in front of the headquarters of the Virginia Dept. of Corrections (VADOC) to draw attention to these conditions and to demand that they be remedied. LET ME BE CLEAR: This position paper was signed by no other prisoner besides me and was intended solely for the purpose of having our families and other concerned taxpaying citizens to peaceably assemble at the headquarters of the VADOC and demand that steps be taken to remedy the conditions described therein.

Continue reading “Subjected to 14 days in hell because of my political activity”

Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview with Jadon Artis

The Free Virginia Movement Presents:

Live From Behind Enemy Lines:
An Interview with Jadon Artis
By Uhuru B. Rowe
April 18, 2018
E-mail: JPay.com

This is interview is with Jadon Artis, also known as Kokomo, a young brother I met one day while walking to a program here at Sussex 2 State Prison. After a brief conversation about the struggle, we instantly cliqued. He describes himself as a black man in Amerika fighting for freedom, justice, and equality and is striving to educate himself so that he can be self-sufficient in a society that’s designed to fail him. When he told me about his traumatic childhood experiences and how he overcame them, it blew my mind. And I am sure it will blow yours, too.

Continue reading “Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview with Jadon Artis”

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”

Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview With Khali Pyatt, Part 2

The Free Virginia Movement Presents:

Live From Behind Enemy Lines:
An Interview With Khali Pyatt, Part 2
By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 23, 2018

This is part 2 of a three-part interview I started on March 19th with my cellmate, Khali Pyatt. Please read carefully as he’s about to explain how his life was forever changed by a system that was designed to target and dispose of young Black and Brown bodies into its penitentiaries.

Continue reading “Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview With Khali Pyatt, Part 2”

Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview with Khali Pyatt, Part 1

The Free Virginia Movement Presents:

Live From Behind Enemy Lines:
An Interview with Khali Pyatt, Part 1
By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 19, 2018

It was Sun Tzu who said that many calculations are made inside of a general’s lair. This cell that I am house in is a lair. So as a leader and forward-thinking individual, I decided to create this platform — Live From Behind Enemy Lines — as a calculated attempt to neutralize the misinformation put out to the public by media and law enforcement that people in prison are irredeemable; a bunch of animals, divorced from our humanity, who deserve to be locked up for the rest of our lives and forgotten about. That were incapable of transforming ourselves and, as a result, have nothing positive and meaningful to offer the world. The interviews that’ll appear on this platform will show the opposite — that we’re fathers, grandfathers, brothers, sons, and nephews who are loved by our families and communities. They will reflect our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses, but most importantly our resiliency — that is, our ability to survive, thrive, and prevail within a system that’s designed to hinder our efforts to redeem ourselves and strip us of our humanity at every turn.

This will be a three-part interview I started on March 19th with my cellmate, Khali Pyatt. Please listen to what this brother has to say and then decide for yourself if he deserves to die in prison.

Continue reading “Live From Behind Enemy Lines: An Interview with Khali Pyatt, Part 1”

Sentiments of a Conscious Prisoner During Lockdown

By Uhuru B. Rowe

November 6, 2017, Day 1 of Lockdown
It is 3:35 AM and we were just abruptly jolted from our sleep by the screams of a Sergeant making his rounds for count. “I need to see movement,” he screams, “so that I’ll know that you are alive.” Since arriving at Sussex 2 State Prison a little over a year ago, there have been a series of overdose deaths here and at other prions and correctional facilities across the state. The current opioid crisis affects, not just people in rural white communities, but also people in prisons. So during this count, on this particular day, we were instructed to move to show that we weren’t dead.

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ME AND MY NIECE

By Uhuru B. Rowe
December 5, 2015

Today was quite extraordinary. My eldest niece came to visit me today, along with her boyfriend and three wonderful children. Its been nearly four years since she last visited me and I was so excited when she told me that she was coming to visit me on this day I could barely contain myself. Out of my entire family Nonie has been the second-most constant in my life during my incarceration- second only to my mother. Nonie and I have a pretty unique relationship in a family divided by deeds done and words said…and words left unsaid. When Nonie was younger, my mother used to baby-sit her so often that it seems as if she was staying with us on a permanent basis. But I was a momma’s boy who demanded all of my mother’s attention; and so I felt that Nonie was encroaching on my territory, so to speak. I began to feel neglected by my mother because I selfishly felt that all of the love and attention she was showering Nonie with belonged to me. And so I began to resent Nonie and I began to verbally and physically abuse her. I didn’t understand it at the time but Nonie’s presence in both me and my mother’s lives during a difficult period for the family was a blessing in disguise. My parent’s marriage was on the verge of collapse and I was battling mental and emotional problems. I vaguely remember one day when I was sitting in my room crying after suffering a traumatic experience, Nonie came to me and put her hand on my shoulder and asked me what was wrong. When I turned to look at her in the eyes, I saw nothing but pure and genuine concern for my well-being. I remember feeling quite fine after that. And here I am after nearly 21 years of incarceration, she is still showing me that same love and concern. She is quite an extraordinary person, so full of love, compassion and loyalty. I am blessed to be her uncle. Her consistent presence in my life serves as a powerful reminder that I must fight with every ounce of my being to regain my freedom.

Black people make up 60% of Virginia’s prison population- 90% of which are black men. Consequently, mass incarceration is destroying black communities and is crippling the foundations of black families. It is an injustice to keep rehabilitated prisoners behind bars for decades who could otherwise serve as a powerful and positive role model and example for our sons and daughters. America’s criminal injustice system punishes not only prisoners, but also our families and communities. I bear witness to this fact when I see the look in Nonie’s eyes when it’s time for us to part was from our visit.

The Visit That Never Was: The Continued Efforts To Destroy The Bonds Between Prisoners and Their Loved-Ones

By Uhuru B. Rowe
September 25, 2017
E-mail: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

Anyone who has ever served time in a jail, prison, or a detention facility, or has been an inpatient at a hospital, knows the importance of receiving visits from loved-ones. Visits from the people we care about functions as a temporary reprieve from the drudgery of institutional life. They remind us that we are loved, valued, and cared for in a harsh and punitive environment which seeks to strip away every ounce of our humanity and self-esteem. Most importantly, they remind us that, despite being isolated away behind concrete walls, we are still part of a family unit; part of our community. So, when I was called for a visit on Sunday, September 24, 2017, here at Sussex 2 State Prison, I was overjoyed! But this feeling of being overjoyed was short-lived, and was quickly replaced with anger and frustration. Here’s why:

Continue reading “The Visit That Never Was: The Continued Efforts To Destroy The Bonds Between Prisoners and Their Loved-Ones”