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Pocahontas has been the worst prison facility, in terms of persecution, not only from inmates, but staff as well for those convicted of sex offenses. I arrived here in February 2021. The COs came around to C1 pod looking for pod workers. They said bluntly, they would not give any inmate a job if they have a sex offense, especially if it involved a child.

Since we have a new warden here trying to make changes for the better for the inmates, some COs quit rather than not be allowed to be offensive, disrespectful and unprofessional toward the inmates -- especially sex offenders. When a cell shakedown came, there would normally be 2 COs tearing up the cell, tossing an inmate's property all over the cell and into the toilet. It looked like a hurricane went through.

If the inmate filed a grievance or informal complaint against the staff, the retaliation would be more severe. The inmate would be publicly humiliated in front of the other inmates in the pod. A 72 year old man with his nose against the wall was verbally abused because he was a convicted sex offender. Because this person wouldn't stop filing paperwork, he'd be put on sanctions and had good time taken away. His release date was pushed forward 13 years in less than two years since he'd been at Pocahontas. He was warned when he received his property in February 2021, by a CO, that they had found disturbing pictures in his property and that if they came into his cell and found more of these kind of pictures it would be his ass. This man subscribed to People magazine and out came the photos they had found -- from People - and the sanctions came down.

One recent event took place where two inmates came to the cell and demanded that he give up his TV. The inmates were told by the COs who no longer work here (they quit) about his offenses and so the inmates told him they were going to take his TV. They didn't get it the first time they tried because the door breaks stalled them. With the next door break, he went to the sergeant and reported the incident and he still has his TV.

But every day he hears verbal abuse -- chomo, baby raper, tree jumper and whatever else that is dehumanizing and demoralizing and there is the constant wondering if physical confrontation will occur at any time soon.

The re-entry rejects are the worst. They'll leave prison with that attitude they carry and in a society where shootings are rampant, they are going to mouth off to the wrong person and get beat down or shot. They don't have to register on a registry or be sent to civil commitment for more punishment. They are released with a limited list of rules to follow. Sex offenders will never be allowed to live a normal life without Big Brother keeping tabs on them. Twenty states have civil commitment laws -- many are violating due process rights by keeping residents way past commitment dates. Kansas, Mississippi, Minnesota have violated CC laws over the years -- taking it all the way to the US Supreme Court. Despite these violations, they were warned about, they won't do away with civil commitment. So for many non sex offenders who think they are better are no pillars of their communities and do just as much or more damage to their victims. They also have higher recidivism rates than sex offenders.

It's time for the persecution to stop in VADOC facilities by staff and inmates. There also needs to be more than just one transitional program for sex offenders to parole to -- Franklin Grove in Richmond is the only place in the state.

All it took for me was exposure to pornography and it screwed up my life and my way of thinking. In November 2013, on ABC news Nightline, Dr. Valerie Voon (addiction researcher at Cambridge University) said: "The worst thing you can do to a child is to use pornography as a teaching tool about sex." Most sex offender's first experience to pornography was by a family member or older person and it laid the foundation to an abusive cycle. In March 2021, a study found that the average age of first time contact of pornography among sex addicts is 11 (American Family Association Outreach, 1997). In 2022, reports estimated that there are 4.2 million pornographic websites. This represents 12 percent of all websites in the world Every day, there are 68 million search engine requests for pornographic material. That is 25 percent of all search engine requests. Average daily pornographic emails per user: 4.5 per user. There are 100,000 websites that offer illegal child pornography Annually, there are 72 million worldwide visitors to pornographic websites. (statistics from Family Safe Media).

I doubt anything will change for sex offenders but it's time for a change -- prevention and awareness programs, limited registration (not for life) and only if all behavioral and psychological thresholds are met. Sex offenders are among the prison population group most vulnerable to acts of violence and death. It's time for a change.


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