News from VA prisons

July 21, 2020

IAHR received news yesterday that Michael Ford was transferred to Green Rock Correctional Center and is in a 14-day quarantine as a precaution against COVID-19. Mr. Ford joins IAHR in thanking those of you who contacted the Department of Corrections on his behalf.

You may remember that we put out a "take action bulletin" last week which read: 

Michael Ford #1471470 is currently incarcerated at Greensville Correctional Center.  As of April, he had had no disciplinary issues in the last 4 years and qualifies for transfer to a lower-level facility, but he was told he could not be transferred until the COVID-19 pandemic was over, which is clearly not consistent with the fact that other transfers are occurring. 
 
Mr. Ford was placed in the RHU (Restrictive Housing Unit/Solitary Confinement) at Greensville on April 14, 2020, and is still there. This happened apparently because he was given a disciplinary charge for allegedly threatening an officer, which he denies.  In fact, the charge was subsequently dismissed. No reason has been given to Mr. Ford as to why he is considered to pose a security threat that cannot be managed without keeping him indefinitely in "restrictive housing."  
Your efforts on behalf of those abused in prison do make a difference!

Gay Gardner, IAHR's Liaison to Virginia Prisons, received a letter from a incarcerated person whose cell mate recently committed suicide. This person has also been dealing with mental health issues. The letter (see below) wants the public to know that brutality is common in prisons. 

DEAR MS. GARDNER AND STAFF 
WANTED TO THANK YOU ALL FOR ALL THAT YOU DO AND FOR HAVING A CARING HEART. IT IS MY HOPE THAT PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD DO NOT FORGET THAT THE VIOLENCE DOES NOT STOP ON THE STREETS WHEN PEOPLE ARE ARRESTED... THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND BRUTALLITY EXTENDS BEYOND OUR POLICE OFFICERS AND INTO THE PRISONS THEMSELVES.  MY OWN OPINION IS THAT THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY OFFICERS WHO HAVE RETURNED HOME FROM OUR WORLD'S BATTLEFIELDS AND LIKELY SUFFER PTSD AMONG OTHER THINGS AND SHOULD NOT HAVE JOBS IN PUBLIC SERVICE. IN PRISON YOU HAVE A LOT OF THE SAME STAFF THAT ARE VETERANS. CLEARLY OUR WORLD'S PROBLEMS ARE NOT ALL DIRECTLY LINKED TO WAR AND THERE ARE OTHER UNDERLYING ISSUES. THE FACT REMAINS THAT POLICE BRUTALLITY DOES NOT END ON OUR STREETS BUT EXTENDS INTO OUR COUNTRY'S PRISON SYSTEMS. WE WOULD LIKE TO SIMPLY THANK YOU ALL. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU OUR WORLD NEEDS.

Just as we the greater public can no longer evade the responsibility to end police brutality, so we cannot evade our responsibility to make sure inmates are treated with respect. 


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