Greetings, my name is Peter Kamau Mukuria. I’m calling from Red Onion State Prison in Virginia. This commentary is about: is long-term segregation, is long-term solitary confinement currently being practiced in Virginia?
On February 2013, Virginia DOC implemented a program called step-down program. In theory, the objective of the step-down programs was to eliminate the practice of indefinite solitary confinement and facilitated ways for prisoners to make it back to the general population expeditiously by participating and completing the books offered.
However, the objective completely contrast with what is actually being enforce. Prisoners are either classified as special management, SM, or intensive- intensive management, IM. For those classified as SM, they can qualify for general population status upon completion of the program.
As for those classified as IM, they can never qualify for general population status despite having completed the program and no matter how much one’s behavior ameliorates. He is permanently held in segregation. During this arbitrary classification, prisoners are not awarded their due process rights, for we are not allowed to be present at the hearing, therefore unable to produce evidence, bought witnesses or appeal that classification which confine us to indefinite solitary confinement.
In the case of Austin v. Wilkinson, the courts ruled that the inmate must be allowed to appear at the reclassification hearing and present evidence, including witnesses and documents, in support of his position. And the reclassification committee must issue a [inaudible] specifically describing the evidence relied on and the reasons for the recommendation.
However, Virginia prisoncrats are not adhering by this due process mandates. Prison walls or fences do not serve as a barrier separating prisoners from the protection of the Constitution. Due process simply permits prisoners to challenge status or classification condemning prisoners to indefinite solitary confinement and subjecting them to no human contact, indefinite solitary confinement, limited outside recreation while locked in individual cages, warehoused in a cell 23 hours a day, 365 a year permanently, and the right to challenge those conditions is not unconstitutional.
[Inaudible] paradoxical rehabilitation that prisoncrats promulgate to society. The pretense of rehabilitation has to be psychological torture techniques in which prisoners are housed in solitary confinement for the duration of their sentence. For those who have no comprehension of life in prison, indefinite solitary confinement is the most torturous experience a human being can be subjected while in prison.
It is nonstop punishment that is methodically designed to deteriorate one’s mind and humanity. In order to lower their recidivism rates, prisons must be properly rehabilitated and equipped with the way transitional skills needed to reenter society. However, prisoncrats thought that abolishing rehabilitation programs and torturing prisoners within indefinite solitary confinement would be more productive than rehabilitation.
The issue of indefinite solitary confinement, you know, is diminutive in comparison to the overall malfeasance that’ll put you in prison nationally, but that would require an entire different, longer commentary, so I was solely focused on this one from now.
Anyway, I currently- I respectfully ask anyone listening who might be able to assist us in this legal battle, so please, you know, log on to the courts website and check out my case [inaudible] this commentary:, Peter K. Mukuria v. over Harold Clarke. 0715CV00172 [inaudible] Number 16-7371. The case is currently pending in the Court of Appeals.
I’d appreciate it if you could- if you could log onto the courts website and review the court’s opinion pertaining to this matter. Thank you very much.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.