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End The Travel Bans

Originally written 11/27/2021 River North Correctional

Today the World Health Organization announced the discovery of a new Covid variant they call Omicron. Apparently Omicron is more contagious than Delta and more resistant to the vaccine. The western world's response to that has been to issue travel bans to countries in Southern Africa. One of the reason countries in Afrika and other underdeveloped nations of the world are susceptible to viral mutations are the fact that many have extremely low vaccination rates. For example there's 54 countries in Afrika and the continent's vaccination rate is just above 6% compared to nearly 55% here in America. Now it's true many Afrikans are anti-vax but the primary contributor to low vaccination rates in Afrika is lack of access to vaccines. Nevertheless, this whole Omicron development got me thinking about the low vaccination rates among staff operating western region prisons here in Virginia.

Recently I began grieving the fact that I'm being forced to be housed in this prison while demanding transfer to a lower security level prison with higher vaccination rates among it's staff. The fact is being in a prison with low vaccination rates among staff places prisoners at risk of not only contracting the Delta variant of the virus but potentially a new variant. The reality is this area's low vaccination rates increase the probability that I will be exposed to a new variant that develops in Grayson Co. VA. To illustrate my point, my housing unit has been on a medical lockdown since November 8, 2021 because staff exposed us to the virus. So far six (6) prisoners have tested positive for Covid and removed for isolation. We've been tested twice and are waiting on the prison COVID committee to clear us for normal operations. The physical design of this prison, along with it's operation. only makes the staff's anti-vax culture more problematic for prisoners like me who are pro vax. Moreover, staff's vaccine hesitancy is even more unfair to me because I am here as on an override. I have been eligible for a security level 1, 2, and 3 over my last 3 annual security level classification reviews, but VADOC has refused to transfer me as punishment for my years of challenging them to be accountable to their own laws, rules, policies, and standards! For that I have been subjected to the most draconian retaliatory measures over the past 5 years. Still with me being charge free and parole eligible the state claims I'm not suitable for a lower security level prison.

The truth is I'm still being punished for speaking truth to power. (Google my colonial name Dale Pughsley to understand) However, I'm afraid that this ongoing effort by high ranking VADOC officials has the potential to cause irreparable damage to my health & wellness. If you are willing to help me end my travel ban to a lower security level prison please contact me via Jpay email or U.S. Postal Mail at Askari Lumumba #1108900


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