The Contraband Still Flows...
By David Annarelli
Today (July 30. 2022), a Saturday at 7:30 AM, a helicopter flew close to this prison’s yard. We had just been let out on the yard, as cattle are moved, through the fencing gates. Two minutes later they shut down the yard and herded us all back into the building. The staff had to “search the yard”. Never mind that the helicopters did not actually fly over the yard for more than a second. Never mind the fact that the amount of drugs on this compound are at an all time high, flowing freely in… There is no reason for this, but, let me backup a bit.
Years ago, before my wrongful conviction and illegal captivity, the VADOC decided that in order to prevent the flow of contraband, all mail would be photocopies. Certainly if VADOC prisoners were no longer receiving actual mail and photographs, then they cannot be receiving contraband sent in by family and friends. Even though, statistically, this was a non-sequitur flying in the face of logic as the real cause of the problem. The VADOC went ahead with the foolish plan… the contraband flowed freely.
At some point it was decided that all incoming property, books for example, while coming directly from companies such as Amazon would be subject to a hold and search. This search would include X-rays and dogs. Logic would dictate that with all mail (except legal mail) being photocopied with the originals shredded and all property subjected to extensive and excessive searches, the VADOC would nip that contraband problem in the bud. Unfortunately for the VADOV, and as per usual, that did not work out as planned. The contraband continued to flow.
The VADOC decided that stripping prisoners before and after every in-person visit was as logical as their other foolish attempts. It was invasive and excessive and it solved nothing. At one point, the VADOC put a policy in place mandating that women visitors who were menstruating would have to remove their tampons before being allowed to have visitation with their husband, brother or son. This was in 2018 and the VADOC was even able to come up with a spokeswoman, Lisa Kinney, to actually defend this insane action. The VADOC was eventually forced to drop this depraved barbarism but the attempt speaks clearly enough. The problem persisted.
Then Covid hit. Pocahontas State Correctional Center, like most prisons, took the low road and instead of reducing prison populations by 60-70%, as was recommended by major health groups, PSCC went on a full 24/7 lockdown. What better way to ensure the spread of a deadly disease is there? No visits of any kind. An even longer hold on mail. Food delivered to the cells. Top tier and bottom tier separated for periods of time only one cell out for ten minutes at a time, twice a day. PSCC, and all prisons, had now become maximum security prisons “ as ordered by the CDC”. Somehow, that contraband just kept coming through the gates. Go figure that one out.
Just recently, the VADOC, in their increasingly impressive and wholly questionable exercise of critical thinking, finally figured out the cause. It must be the legal mail. Local courts and lawyers, the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Fourth Circuit and the US Supreme Court of Virginia. You cannot make this stuff up and the VADOC actually put out memos for all of it. Now, along with the dizzying array of failed policies that have produced exactly ZERO results, the VADOC implemented a policy that illegally routed all legal mail to a “centralized processing unit” to be put through some search or another. It’s all clearly nefarious but, more importantly, a grotesque violation of Constitutional rights and specifically the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments (attorney/client privilege/access to the courts and due process). This epic display of intelligence went into effect on July 1, 2022, shortly after we spent 10 days on a lockdown without reason. Finally, the contraband problem was dealt with. This time for sure, right? WRONG!
The contraband keeps coming through the gates. Actually, it always will because the VADOV is not looking at the root of the problem. To be more concise, the VADOC is deliberately and willfully ignoring the root of the problem. It knows what the problem is and has known all along. Acknowledging the problem opens a can of worms in Virginia’s already long history of destruction. The VADOC contraband problem is a STAFF problem. The VADOC doesn’t want citizens to know that it is no more than a colossal failure and that its staff are all criminals. Along with all of the other, endless, false data the VADOC feeds the public (low recidivism, nutrition standards, false data, education opportunities, everything), Virginia wants to hide the truth about its staff smuggling contraband.