It is a tragedy how prisoners here in Virginia are deprived of the right to cohabitate with the the opposite sex, but what is even more tragic is the fact that people in society do not see this as cruel and unusual. In "Old Dominion" (Virginia) prisoners have never been able to copulate with their wives. They say that we have freedom of religion, but in most religions there is a commandment by God in some way to be fruitful and multiply, and this has completely been cut off. To me a marriage is not a marriage until it is consummated whereby husband and wife physically become one. The crazy thing is that animals in zoos have more rights to cohabitate and reproduce than human beings behind bars.
I have been incarcerated for the last 20 years and I don't have any children. This means that if I were to die tomorrow I would be extinct. The truth is I have had two wives during my prison sentence who both died (one in a car accident, the other from a heart condition) during the term of my imprisonment. I was never given a chance to produce offspring with two women that I loved, and with them, I never will.
Historically, when we look at the slave trade, we see Blacks who were never allowed to reproduce without the permission of their master, an even when they were allowed to have children, their offspring was seen as property and could be sold or traded at the slave master's whim. In this day and time, the 13th Amendment, which provides that slavery shall be abolished except under the circumstances of one who has been duly convicted, provides the same method of control that was exercised during chattel slavery.
This is also a method of genocide where the powers that be have systematically eliminated whole generations from being born, and this means control. A whole timeline of women have been deprived of potential mates, and those potential mates have been deprived of the Human Right to procreate. If animals were being deprived of the right to have offspring there would be a million animal rights groups fighting for their natural right to reproduce, but where is that same fight for human beings?
The laws in Virginia reflect the mind state of the Old Confederacy where slavers controlled reproduction and the produce that spawned from it. In the Commonwealth young men are given extensive sentences the likes of which they can never complete, or by the time they do complete, they are so old that fatherhood may be a foregone concept.
There is no parole in Virginia and Truth-In-Sentencing (TIS) provides that prisoners must do 85% of their sentences. This has resulted in mass incarceration and a domino effect of issues that we all must deal with. Modern day slavery is real, and the elimination of the right of a man to copulate with his wife is one of its pillars. Until we begin to attack these principles at the root, we will still see branches of oppression drop leaves of injustice in our community, and we will have to be the ones to rake them up.
- Hassan Shabazz, VAPOC