Joseph Walters, VADOC Human Resources Director 804-887-7982
Steve Herrick, VADOC Director of Health Services 804-887-8118.
VADOC Director Harold Clarke, 804-674-3000
GCC Lead Warden Larry T. Edmonds, 434-602-3403 or 434-535-7000
Greensville Correctional Center (GCC) is one of the largest prisons on the East Coast. Its general population (GP) is separated into three clusters: S1, S2 and S3, with each cluster containing three Housing Units (HU). Each cluster is completely isolated from the other. The Restrictive Housing Unit (i.e. the hole) is located in cluster 4 in HU 10. I am currently housed in cluster S1 in HU 1. The conditions I describe to you herein are based on the conditions experienced in S1 though they generally reflect the general conditions of GCC as a whole.
As a result of outside advocacy, some conditions here at GCC have improved. We are now issued regular-sized bars of soap for handwashing instead of miniature luxury bars we were issued at first and we are now receiving adequate (out-of-cell) in-pod and outside recreation which allows us more time to exercise and greater access to telephones and kiosks in order to stay in connected with our loved ones. However, other issues here at GCC have persisted and have even worsened since the pandemic forced this prison to go into modified lockdown mode in March and after 200+ prisoners and 40+ prison staffers tested positive for COVID-19 in May. [The number of infections has increased since then]. They issues are as follows:
1. THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF FOOD PORTIONS HAS GOTTEN WORSE.
We are currently fed meals in our HUs. Our food is served in Styrofoam trays which contains three food slots as opposed to the six food slots on the regular trays. As a result, our food portions have been dramatically reduced to one-half (and in some cases one-third) the portion size we are suppose to receive. Potatoes and other vegetables served on the tray are often raw or rotten and cannot be eaten. Our meals are often cold because they are left to sit in the foodcart for a substantial period of time before they are delivered to our cells. Reduced portions and poor quality food denies us the proper nutrients to sustain healthy bodies and strong immune systems necessary for warding off or mitigating the complications of COVID-19.
2. LACK OF MEDICAL/DENTAL CARE.
Nearly all medical and dental care has been placed on hold since mid-March. We have been advised that if our medical needs are not related to COVID-19, we will not be seen or treated by medical staff. Denial of basic medical and dental care jeopardizes our overall health at a time when good health is essential for mitigating the effects of COVID-19.
3. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY REGARDING WHAT PRISON STAFF WAS EXPOSED TO OR TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19.
Since March, several GCC corrrectional officers, counselors and other prison staff have either been exposed to or infected by COVID-19. For example, the entire commissary staff in S1 cluster [who potentially exposed us prisoners to COVID-19 when handing us our commissary] was recently placed on leave because they tested positive for COVID-19. However, this knowledge as well as knowledge of other infected prison employees has been consistently withheld from the prison population because it is deemed "personal" or "classified" information. The only way we become aware of an exposed or infected prison employee is through the prison grapevine days or weeks AFTER a correctional officer or counselor takes leave from work for quarantine or returns to work from quarantine. The lack of transparency regarding which officers, counselors or other prison employees (who work in close contact with prisoners) who have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 will result and has resulted in the continued spread of the virus among the prison population here at GCC.
4. LACK OF COVID-19 TESTING.
Since the Governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency in mid-March, GCC officials have conducted only one facility-wide "COVID-19 Point Prevalence Testing" of the entire prison population on May 21-22, 2020. Since prison employees can become infected with COVID-19 after leaving work and then unknowingly spread the virus among the prison population when they return work, and because prison employees continue to test positive for COVID-19 like in the case of the commissary staff, facility-wide testing of the entire prison population should be conducted on at least a monthly basis.
5. DELAYS IN INCOMING AND OUTGOING JPAY EMAILS.
Our incoming and outgoing JPay emails to and from our loved ones are delayed for days and weeks, and sometimes for an entire month, since the start of the pandemic. Per VADOC Operating Procedure 803.1, all JPay emails must be processed and handled as if they were regular postal mail. This means that incoming emails should not be withheld for longer than 48 hours and our outgoing emails should not be obstructed or delayed since they cannot/should not be read, screened or inspected absent evidence of criminal activity or an approved Mail Cover from the Warden. During this COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for incarcerated people to be able to communicate freely with out loved ones. The deliberate and illegal withholding our incoming JPay by GCC mailroom staff and institutional investigators functions to disrupt/obstruct communication
between us and our loved ones as a time when so many people are becoming infected and dying from COVID-19.
We ask that you communicate these concerns to the below prison officials and demand they be remedied. Thanks for your continued support.
We've received a direct request for help delivering demands to VADOC administration.
Start calling at 9am on June 8.
A comrade has informed us of a major outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at Greensville Correctional Center (GCC) and the Greensville Men's Work Center (GMWC) in Jarratt, VA, where over 240 prisoners and staff have tested positive for the virus. Since then, conditions at GCC and GMWC and the staff’s treatment of prisoners have become significantly worse. Below is a description of events surrounding the outbreak and a list of demands for VADOC officials.
On May 15, 2020, Trey Fuller, Asst. Director of Health Services for the Virginia Dept of Corrections (VADOC), issued a memo advising prisoners that from May 21-22, all inmates and staff at GCC and GMWC will be tested for COVID-19. On May 21, at approximately 3:30 pm, prisoners were locked down in preparation for COVID-19 testing. At approximately 4:45pm, a National Guardsman and 7 people dressed in all-white full-body PPE suits bearing a blue “DuPoint” sticker, arrived and commenced testing prisoners with kits manufactured by Carnival Health.
Prisoners were asked to sit down in a chair where the people in PPE suits removed the swabs from the kits, shoved them up prisoners' noses, and twisted them back and forth for approximately seven seconds. Our comrade expressed that the pain of this process was “unbearable.” After the swabs were placed back into the plastic bags and resealed, prisoners were ordered back into their cells. This same scenario was repeated through the complex.
On May 22, officers advised prisoners that the entire prison was placed on emergency quarantine lockdown because over 240 prisoners and staff tested positive for COVID-19 with more tests awaiting analysis. Word of the lockdown triggered an eruption of screams, shouts, and pounding on the cell doors.
Since the lockdown, food has been served cold and portions have been cut in half. Prisoners have only been allowed to shower once every three days. They have been denied access to phones and JPay kiosks to communicate with their loved ones. The only contact some have had with the outside world is via video visitation—a luxury unavailable to many, either because their loved ones don't have access to the required technology or because they can't pay for it during this time of economic hardship.
As the virus spreads throughout the Virginia prison system, hygiene and sanitation are critical. So is communication with loved ones and the outside world in general. Prisoners at GCC and GMWC are calling on us to assist them in communicating these demands to VADOC officials.
Thank you for your support.
Email VADOC administration
Numbers to call
I am calling in regard to a major outbreak of COVID-19 at Greensville Correctional Center and the Greensville Men's Work Center. The prisoners there have been kept in the dark about the progress of the outbreak, and have been denied access to basic hygiene, sanitation, and means communication with their loved ones. Their demands are as follows:
I expect your office to ensure these demands are met immediately in order to comply with procedures and provide prisoners with what they need to stay safe, healthy, and informed
Call Wednesday 3/25 all day!!!
As prisons, jails, and detention centers around the country begin to see outbreaks of COVID-19, it is clear that administrators are at best ill-equipped to keep people safe and informed. We need to put pressure on public power to act in the interest of public health. The only way Coronavirus is spreading to incarcerated and detained people is from staff bringing it in, and we know that people can carry the virus without being symptomatic. Social distancing is impossible in these facilities, and the availability of testing is so limited that the only way we know about infections is from people on the inside reporting outbreaks. By then it is too late. The only way to prevent illness and death in prisons, jails, and detention centers under these conditions is to release people in large numbers. People are already reporting outbreaks in Virginia facilities. Many jails across the US have implemented large-scale releases. It's past time for ICE and the Virginia Department of Corrections to follow suit.
Numbers to call
Hello my name is ____. I am calling to request that your office take steps to minimize the risk of
transmission of COVID-19 in VADOC and ICE facilities. I am aware that staff at these facilities are not
being tested, and that people at ICA Farmville and Coffeewood Correctional are reporting symptoms.
Social distance as a preventative measure is impossible in jails, prisons, and detention centers. Given
that comprehensive testing is also impossible, the only way to minimize risk is to effect large-scale
releases. Coronavirus is an imminent threat to the secure operation of VADOC and ICE facilities, and
must be taken seriously. Will Governor Northam demonstrate his commitment to public health by granting clemency and commuting sentences? Or will he release a statement accepting responsibility for inevitable illness and death?
If you reach a voicemail
Ask for a callback. Note the time of call and where you left a message (in the case you were forwarded
to another answering machine)
If you reach a person
Note the time and length of the call and who you spoke with. Get the direct number and email of the
person you were transferred to. Push for a formal response. If the person you're speaking with can't speak to the office's response, ask them who can.
Leave a report in the comments, or email one to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz is one of 14 men who were exonerated of charges related the the uprising at James T Vaughn Correctional Institution on February 1, 2017. Many of these men are still being subjected to various forms of retaliation, including arbitrary solitary confinement.
Alejandro was transferred from SCI Camp Hill to SCI Mahanoy in August 2019, and Pennsylvania DOC has refused to transfer his commissary.
He needs us to call Deputy Cronhauer of PRC at 570-773-2158 ext. 8102.
I am calling to urge you to make sure that Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz, inmate number NW2883, gets his commissary money from Camp Hill. His funds have been denied to him since his transfer to SCI Mahanoy. He has $133.22 still being held at Camp Hill in 3 bags: Cam-038419 for $57.97, Cam-038472 for $2.02, and Cam-038536 for $78.23.
Then visit Vaughn17.com to learn how else to take action!
Comrade Pitt has been in solitary confinement at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia since July 2019 as retaliation for his involvement in collective legal action. He needs our help to get out of the hole.
Starting on Tuesday morning (January 21st) at 8:00am, call 540-561-7050 & 804-887-8081 to demand that Regional Operations Chief Henry Ponton grant Peter Mukuria’s appeal.
Keep calling all week!
Leave reports in the comments!
I am calling in regard to Peter Mukuria (ID #1197165), an inmate at Red Onion Prison. Mr. Mukuria has been in solitary since July 30, 2019 when officers alleged that he incited a group demonstration at the end of in-pod recreation. Mr. Mukuria submitted an appeal on September 3, 2019. The regional Operations Office has failed to review the appeal for over 130 days, in violation of VA DOC operating policy 861.1. I demand that Chief Henry Ponton grant Peter Mukuria’s appeal. If he reviews the five-months-old evidence, he will see there was no group demonstration at the end of in-pod rec. If the Department of Corrections cannot follow its own rules, it should be subject to a review by the governor.
Numbers to call:
On May 6, 2019, the ACLU and attorneys from White & Case LLP, on behalf of 12 prisoners at Red Onion and Wallen's Ridge, filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) seeking to end those prisons' practice of arbitrary, retaliatory solitary confinement.
On 7/30, Peter Kamau Mukuria (Comrade Pitt) was put in solitary confinement at Red Onion as retaliation for his involvement in the lawsuit and for filing numerous complaints. He was at first charged with inciting a riot at the end of in-pod recreation that morning. There was no riot. Comrade Pitt appealed, and rather than dropping the charge, the warden reduced it to inciting a "group demonstration". This did not happen either. Video footage of the pod shows that Correction Officer T. O'Quinn's account of what happened is false. Neither the warden nor the hearing officer mentioned video evidence.
Comrade Pitt appealed his case to regional operations office on September 3rd 2019. VADOC operating policy 861.1 mandates that appeals are reviewed within 60 days. Over 130 days have passed.
On October 28th, when he was making rounds, regional administrator Henry Ponton told Comrade Pitt he would personally review his case. Over two months later, there is no sign of progress. Comrade Pitt needs us to call and email to demand that the regional operations chief grant his appeal immediately.
Come out to this panel discussion for our IWW co-sponsored event with the Hopkins Coalition Against ICE, and remind Baltimore just what's at stake when one of our universities engages in multi-million dollar contracts with ICE!
Standing Up for Immigrants’ Lives. Wednesday, January 30th, 6:30-8:30 PM. Bloomberg Building, Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, Room 272.
The public discussion will feature two phenomenal speakers. Lydia Gonzales, lead organizer for CASA de Maryland, will be discussing the struggle for migrant justice in Maryland. Khury Petersen-Smith, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, will be talking about his research on the crisis at the border, migration, and empire.
Click here to visit the Facebook event page.
Protest is not a crime.
Join Defend J20 Resistance, the DC IWW, the Midatlantic GDC, and organizers around the world in demanding that the US Attorneys Office in D.C. drop the charges against J20 inauguration protesters. Picket from 9am--11am Monday, June 25 at Judiciary Square, 555 4th st NW.
Many of us took to the streets on January 20th, 2017. Let's gather again to send love and solidarity to the folks who were arrested on that same day in D.C. and send a message loud and clear: "drop the charges!"
About Defend J20 Resistance
On January 20th, 2017, over 200 people were arrested in Washington, DC for protesting the Inauguration of Donald Trump. In a shocking display of state repression, prosecutors charged all the protesters with multiple felonies, including “rioting” and “conspiracy to riot”.
By standing together and refusing plea deals, J20 defendants have been pushing back. The government’s case has fallen apart: since the first trial, more than 150 people have been acquitted or seen their charges dropped. But the fight is not over: 39 people still face 60 years in prison.
About the IWW and GDC
The Industrial Workers of the World is a member-run union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries and in our communities. IWW members are organizing to win better conditions today and build a world with economic democracy tomorrow. We want our workplaces run for the benefit of workers and communities rather than for a handful of bosses and executives.
The General Defense Committee is our affiliated community defense and legal support body. We have created picket trainings, organized actions against white supremacists, and engaged in the organization and execution of community defense across the mid-Atlantic.
Check out the event page on Facebook