Saturday, July 25, 2015

Women At MRRJ Voice Grievances

Middle River Regional Jail
Some inmates at the Middle River Regional Jail in Augusta County are housed in open dorms with over thirty bunks each, with almost no privacy. 

When on lock down those inmates are forced to stay at their beds--without showers and with only occasional bathroom breaks--sometimes for days at a time. Noise is constant and fights break out frequently, according to first hand reports.

 I recently received the following letter dated July 5, signed by twenty women at the Middle River Regional Jail and addressed to the Department of Corrections in Richmond. I submitted a copy, without the names, to MJJR and offered to post any response they might have, as I have no way of confirming the specifics of each of their complaints. The author of the letter, slated to be transferred to a state prison, has been moved. 

 Here are some of their complaints, in their own words:

Department of Corrections
P. O. Box 26963
Richmond, VA 23261-6963
re: Middle River Regional Jail

To whom it may concern:

This letter is in reference to the above jail, Middle River Regional Jail in Staunton, Virginia. DOC really needs to evaluate this facility.

There is an inmate who has been here two weeks. She has lupus and cancer, and still has not received the medications she is required to take. Her family has called and spoken with someone here asking why she has not received it and they were told that she has, but the only thing she has received is Ibuprofin. She is daily in a lot of pain.

Another inmate has broken her hand in two places. X-rays were done showing that. She was given a gauze wrap and told to take Ibuprofin, but they failed to look at her records to see that she was allergic to it, so she is still suffering. She has constantly asked corrections officers and nurses about what is going on, but still no word. This has been since June 7, 2015. This inmate has served our country and she has made mistakes but she deserves to be treated as a human being.

Another inmate was in line to get her meds and was given a pill in an envelope and the inmate stated that this wasn't her pill. The nurse looked at the envelope and stated it was not hers but said if she had taken it that it would have been her fault. How is that the inmate's fault, when the nurse should be qualified to do her job?

Another inmate was waiting to get her meds and the nurse gave her a 300 mg dose of Lamictal when she was only supposed to get a 200 mg dose. Thankfully the inmate saw that and gave back one of the pills. With this medication the dose should be gradually increased because if not it can cause a rash and cause the inmate to die.

One more inmate on quite a few meds due to a lot of health issues was told by her CO that she needs to just be put down. A lawsuit waiting to happen.

When we inmates here are having periods we constantly have to ask for pads. We have inmates bleed through their clothes and sheets. Getting  replacements on these items is not a quick process and very unsanitary. Why can't each inmate at the beginning of each month be given enough pads to last for the month? Not each inmate has the same flow, and it's a daily process of going to the call box to get our two pads. Also, some inmates require a shower and if we are on lockdown you can forget that.

As to the food situation, the menu repeats every three days, and frankly we wouldn't feed it to our dogs. On Saturdays and Sundays we receive only two meals a day. As far as getting milk with our meals, we only get 3-4 ounces in the morning. We get a lot of Kool-Aid that causes the UTI's here.

Classes are available but there is a lack of coordination and a long waiting list. We thought classes would be once a week, but we have seen only a few people go. If there were were more for inmates to do there would be fewer fights, etc.

We are thankful to have a TV, but in order to watch it you have to purchase a $33 radio plus batteries. We are charged $3 a day ("rent") to be here and but still have to purchase hygiene supplies, so most who leave are left with a hefty balance not being paid. We're not sure what happens to money once inmates are released, but this money could go to programs to rehabilitate inmates.

Everything involving programs is a waiting game. Some inmates are really trying to do better but don't have the means or resources once they are incarcerated. We have sentencing guidelines but it seems like none are being followed and then you have overcrowded jails.

We are all voices and we will continue our quest until we are heard. You will not be the only ones who receive this letter. We will also be sending it to the Governor, Congressmen and to TV and newspaper outlets.

Something needs to be done. Thank you for your time.

(signed by twenty female inmates)
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