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Saturday, April 8, 2017

HARD TIME VIRGINIA, Volume II, Number 2

While Lady Justice still reigns...
Two More Parole Eligible Inmates Die At Buckingham
On April 4, 2017, Eugene Robert Parson, age 69, died of cancer at Buckingham Correctional Center. Rumor has it that he did not have an emergency contact listed for the hospital to perform a life or death surgery, so they allowed him to die without performing the surgery. 
     Eugene was an example of someone who had tried hard to demonstrate that he was capable of being a good citizen, but who was never offered the opportunity to be paroled and given a second chance.  
     On the following day Timothy George White, Jr, died between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. of an apparent heart attack at age 49. When two officers came to his cell at count time, they found him unresponsive. He also had many criminal charges but for years had been a model prisoner. 

Virginia Inmates To Receive Only Photocopies Of Their Mail
Effective April 22, all mail for Virginia prisoners mail will be copied and given to the inmate in black and white, while the original content, including the envelope, will be shredded. This is likely to have a huge negative effect on the morale of inmates, who will be denied having irreplaceable keepsakes like original letters, pictures, cards from family, friends, children and loved ones.
     Taxpayer dollars are allocated for training and use of drug-sniffing dogs at every Virginia state prison facility. 

Jail Sued Over Inmate Not Getting Her Meds
A Virginia jail inmate suffered a fatal stroke in her cell after jail employees failed to give her the stroke-prevention medications she had been prescribed after open-heart surgery, according to a lawsuit early this year.
     Jaimee Kirkwood Reese, 32, died in a hospital upon suffering a stroke in her cell at Northern Neck Regional Jail in March of 2016. The lawsuit, filed a year later in Richmond, said more than 11 hours elapsed before Reese was admitted to the hospital, at which time she was already brain-dead. The suit said that instead of being taken to the hospital immediately, Reese was taken by stretcher to a cell for medical observation.

421 Virginia Inmates Deserve A Retrial
On June 9, 2000, the Virginia Appellate Court ruled in favor of defendant Richard Fishback v. Commonwealth for a new sentence, based on Fishback's judge not having instructed jurors that parole had been abolished, thus likely affecting their decisions regarding the length of his sentence.
     Sixteen years later, 421 Virginia defendants incarcerated under similar circumstances still await the opportunity for a new hearing, just as Richard Fishback received.
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Another Poem By A 70-Year-Old Blind Inmate
"Southside State Farm"
Minor Junior Smith
I ran into my fellow inmates on the Southside State Farm's long hallway.
They were moving about, as though they were on a very crooked highway.
I became bewildered and interested as I crossed its second-floor lane.
I saw one convict in dark glasses, limping, and swinging a guide-cane.

It was near dinner time, so I hurried along, not wanting to be late.
A friendly offender helped me to find my bunk near the back of D-8.
I landed a job in book-binding and was folding covers just fine.
Within two weeks, the legally-blind man's cell was right next door to mine.

He had my attention, so I introduced myself to the college student, Ray.
I was glad when I had because he had helpful information to convey.
With a recorder, he was enrolled in a college course through The Hadley School.
I soon learned that I could use an abacus slate as a mathematical tool.

In Waynesboro, VA, Ray had been in car business with an unfaithful wife.
After murdering her, he had shot through an optic nerve then sentenced to life.
I took Ray to be a man of intelligence and also found him to be quite wise.
We were transported to MCV, so that a doctor could examine our eyes.

That doctor laughed at my glasses from Southhill, as if they looked funny.
He informed me that the other doctor had merely been after easy state money.
Ray and I could read newspapers with hand-held 7-powered magnifying glasses.
Some mornings, we listened to talking-books in school but never attended classes.

I received word that my sister, Rena, had been shot before she went insane.
At nights, thoughts of that and Mother's death caused emotional strain.
During meals, we handicapped guys always found our seats reserved.
Sometimes, I felt like my incarceration was what I rightly deserved.

One Sunday, dad and my step-mother visited me, but we did not discuss my crime.
They left knowing that I would visit them after I had served my time.
Outside the visiting room that day, I had unpleasant memories of mom.
Upon reaching Southside's main hallway, I ran smack-dab into Tom.

He had been apprehended in Georgia, having stolen clothes from a line.
He and I, having escaped together, could have picked oranges in Florida, had been a secret idea of mine.

I felt compassionate towards the disabled veteran, Ray, who might never be free.
I wonder whether I would have committed crimes had mom not abused me.
Around Christmas of 1970, a counselor for the blind brought me a guide-cane.
A sergeant told me that I did not need "that stick" to get in out of the rain.

For some residents in prison, it was strange to see a totally-blind man.
Mr. Self consulted with me, and he helped me to establish a parole plan.
One evening, Ray advised me to apply for a Social-Security Check.
I received over $1,700.00; then I never minded being called a Red Neck.

My new Beatle hair style made it a lot easier for me to use a comb.
I wrote to Ms. Dotson, who invited me to room and board at her home.
Ray and I liked to play all kinds of card games and usually stayed up late.
We crossed the cell-block to play Hearts, Spades, and even Crazy-8.

One of our opponents knew my dad and spoke of places I could remember.
I was proud to hear that dad had paid Mr. Job for all of his timber.
By March of 1971, I owned a recorder and typewriter but could not type well.  
Granted parole thereafter, I shook hands with Ray and left him at his cell.
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