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Dirty Laundry

By Jeffery Gardner (Pocahontas)

The Virginia Department of Corrections issues inmates 4 pairs of socks, 4 boxers, and 4 T-shirts. This is adequate at facilities that provide laundry service twice a week or have washing machines and dryers in the housing units. However, 4 changes of whites is not adequate at Pocahontas State Correctional Center, where inmates are only provided laundry service to have their whites washed once per week,

Inmates must have on one of their 4 changes of whites on the laundry day, so only 3 sets actually get washed. That gives us 3 clean changes of white to wear over an 8 day period. And that’s not always the case because lockdowns and holidays can put us even longer between washings. This week of May 23, 2022, me and 1,000 other inmates are going at least 10 days on 3 changes of whites due to a lockdown, which is degrading and dehumanizing.

During the Covid pandemic, PSC managed to wash our laundry twice a week and it made a noticeable difference in our quality of life. It reduced body odor and reduced the dust levels. We suffered with less itching, jock itch and athlete’s foot cases were reduced as a direct result of clean clothes.

Inmates need mandates put in place to ensure we have clean clothes every day, whether by more laundry service or being issued 8 sets of whites. We live in extremely close quarters and our health and welfare is at risk without justification.


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