Concern Regarding Conditions of Confinement and Lack of Medical Care for Randall Via

Here is an update on the condition of Randall Via

Randall Via, who has spent many years in solitary confinement at Red Onion State Prison, had an alarming and painful growth on his leg and was told he might have bone cancer and would have to have his leg amputated.  It took far too long for anyone to give it serious attention.  He finally was transferred to Sussex I State Prison, closer to Richmond, so he could be treated at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) at Virginia Commonwealth University, but he was being held there in solitary confinement under very draconian conditions.  Ultimately, doctors at MCV reviewed his diagnostic tests and determined that his tumor was not malignant.  He returned to Red Onion Prison.  Unfortunately, however,  VADOC is unwilling to provide treatment other than monitoring the tumor to make sure it remains stable. The good news is that Randall has been transferred to general population. Since he was in solitary for many years, this is an occasion for celebration.  


Randall Via #1084857 has spent many years in solitary confinement at Red Onion State Prison. In August 2017, he began experiencing severe pain in his right leg. It continued to worsen, and Randall reports that by December 2017 two large inflamed protuberances were clearly visible. He saw the nurse practitioner and requested an x-ray. The nurse practitioner told him it was probably just a broken blood vessel. By February 2018 there was still no improvement, and he saw the nurse practitioner again. Once again, she told him it would heal on its own. Several months went by. In August 2018, Randall was able to get the warden's attention. Warden Kiser looked at his leg and, according to Randall, acknowledged that something was obviously wrong. He said he would ensure that Randall got an x-ray. Randall reports that the x-ray showed several large masses in his leg.  The radiologist recommended a follow-up MRI.

Randall had subsequent diagnostic tests at a hospital. The hospital radiologist told Randall and two corrections officers who were present that Randall needed a biopsy and may have to have his leg amputated. Further diagnosis and treatment must be done at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) at Virginia Commonwealth University. In order to be treated at MCV, Randall had to be transferred to Sussex I State Prison. 

Randall's immediate concern was that, as has been the case with other Red Onion prisoners transferred to Sussex I for medical treatment, he would be kept in solitary confinement at Sussex I under conditions of even greater deprivation than at Red Onion. In fact, that is what occurred when he was finally transferred to Sussex I in January 2019.

At Sussex I he has been deprived of access to TV, phone calls, email, and commissary purchases. He reported that he was even denied such basic items as shampoo, a cup and bowl, and chapstick. At the end of January 2019, he was told that he was going to be given a "security override" so he could be moved to general population because of the prolonged period he would need to remain at Sussex I while receiving medical treatment.

As of 
March 2019 , however, Randall is still in solitary confinement, and no medical appointment for a biopsy has yet been scheduled.  More than 19 months after his symptoms first appeared, Randall has still not received any treatment for what appears to be a very serious medical condition. 


Please contact the following officials and ask them to--
(1) End the delay in Randall Via's promised release from the severe deprivations that have been imposed upon him in "restrictive housing" at Sussex I State Prison; and
(2) Ensure that Randall receives appropriate medical treatment as a matter of urgency.  It is simply unacceptable that 19 months after his symptoms first appeared and 7 months after diagnostic tests indicating the seriousness of his condition, a biopsy has not yet been scheduled for him.
Harold Clarke, Director of Corrections 
A. David Robinson, Chief of Corrections Operations 
Steve Herrick, Director of Health Services 

Israel Hamilton,  Warden, Sussex I State Prison 
William Jarratt,  Assistant Warden, Sussex I State Prison 


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