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”
Staff report from The Virginia Defender – May 30, 2018
As posted to the Virginia Prison Justice Network website.
In the midst of a prisoner-led campaign to win better conditions at the Sussex II state prison in Waverly, Va., the wardens at both that prison and its sister facility, Sussex I, have been replaced.
Tracy Ray, the warden at Sussex II, has been removed from his position and replaced by Beth Cabell, previously the warden at St. Brides Correctional Center in Chesapeake.
The new warden at Sussex I is Israel Hamilton, previously the warden at Haynesville Correctional Center in Richmond County. Both changes seem to have occurred within the last week.
Continue reading “Wardens at Sussex I & II are out – what does it mean?”
The Free Virginia Movement Presents:
Live From Behind Enemy Lines:
An Interview with Jadon Artis
By Uhuru B. Rowe
April 18, 2018
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”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
December 23, 2017
“WE WANT the Abolition of any VADOc policy, practice, or procedure which violates the human/constitutional rights of incarcerated people and endangers/hinders their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical growth and well being and rehabilitation efforts including, but not limited to: …(I) VADOc newly implemented draconian mail policy which went into effect on April 17, 2017…” — Demand #16(K) of the Free Virginia Movement
Imagine this: It is your birthday and your last year in college. And even though you’ve moved halfway across the country to attend college, your mother has unfailingly mailed you a birthday card and a picture every year since your freshman year. So you eagerly anticipate the arrival of the mailman. He finally arrives and hands you two pieces of paper. As you examine it, you come to the horrifying conclusion that the mailman just handed you black and white photocopies of the birthday card and picture your mother has mailed to you. You race behind the mailman. You finally catch up to him — your heart is raising and you’re barely out of breath. But you somehow manage to ask him, “What in the hell are these copies you have given me. Where’s my damn mail?” He turns around, with a coy grin on his face, and replies, “Oh yeah, the government implemented a new policy a few months ago to keep YOU people from mailing drugs to each other. So we’re only allowed to give you black and white photocopies of your mail now. The originals we have to destroy. Oh, by the way, tell your folks there’s a three page limit on letters now. So if they mail you a letter that’s over that limit, I’m obligated to return it.”
Continue reading “The New Draconian Prison Mail Regulation”
The Free Virginia Movement
By Uhuru B. Rowe, Founder
REVISED May 12, 2017
WHO WE ARE
The Free Virginia Movement is an Inside-Out/Outside-In all-inclusive, coalition-based statewide movment and organizing effort founded by incarcerated people in the Virginia Department of Corrections in solidarity with the class struggles of Black, Brown, poor, low-income, disenfranchised, and working class people, to redress inhumane and harsh prison conditions; racial, class, and gender bias in the criminal legal system; the effects of mass incarceration and felony disenfranchisement laws on Black, Brown, poor, low-income and working-class communities; and the miriad of other laws, policies, and practices and procedures which discriminates against people because of their race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, age, or disability. We recognize that incarcerated, Black, Brown, poor, low-income, oppressed, disenfranchised, and working-class people, are all victims of capitalist oppression and exploitation, Inside and Outside of prisons.
Continue reading “The Free Virginia Movement”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 1, 2017
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!”
DO INCARCERATED BLACK LIVES MATTER?
IF SO, SUPPORT UHURU’S CLEMENCY REQUEST
Uhuru Rowe is a self-educated, socially conscious, politically active brother, who has been incarcerated for 22 consecutive years in the Virginia (VA) prison system where he has often experienced retaliation from prison authorities because of his political beliefs, organizing activities, and for speaking out against inhuman prison conditions.
Uhuru was involved in a robbery back in 1995 that resulted in the shooting deaths of two people. Though Uhuru was not the trigger-man, he accepted responsibility for his actions and entered a non-cooperating guilty plea which sealed his fate. The sentencing guidelines recommended a maximum sentence of only 13 years, but former Richmond circuit court judge, James B. Wilkinson, who was known to be a racist, ignored the recommendation and sentenced Uhuru to an aggregate sentence totaling 93 years. This sentence is an unprecedented 80 years over the guidelines recommendations! Continue reading “Do Incarcerated Black Lives Matter?”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
November 4, 2016
On the October 15, 1976, I was born at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA to Claretha and Robert Rowe. I was the last of seven children. We represented the typical working-class Black family trying to survive and thrive under racist, capitalist system. My mother and father both worked long, hard hours to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. So, when we came home from school we were often home alone and had to take care of ourselves, and each other. Being the baby in the family, naturally I was the most spoiled and devious. I could do no wrong in my mother’s eyes. So, I used to get away with a lot which drove my siblings nuts. We were all raised to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we didn’t celebrate any holiday’s (including birthdays) which bothered me, especially during Christmas. I would sit in my window and watch all the neighborhood kids play with their new toys and wished to God that I was one of them.
Continue reading “The Big Four-Zero”
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.” Continue reading “Abruptly Transferred from Buckingham Correctional Center to Sussex 2 State Prison”