A hunger strike is underway at Wallens Ridge State Prison, in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Support the list of demands by contacting:
VA DOC Director Harold W Clarke
Business Phone: 804 674 3118
WRSP Chief Warden Gregory Holloway
Business Phone: 276 523 3310
The list of demands inlcude:
“We (Prisoners at Wallens Ridge State Prison) demand the right to an adequate standard of living while in the custody of the state!
1. We demand fully cooked food and access to a better quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, we demand increased portions on our trays and an overall healthier dietary plan that will allow us to truly meet our nutritional needs as defined by VA DOC regulations and ACA standards. Currently, at WRSP the common fare trays aren’t receiving sufficient substitutes, nor do they amount to equal nutritional value. No fruit is given, and the vegetables get served rotten. The master sheet menu is completely outdated and disregarded, which is a blatant violation of ACA Standards Section C. 4-4316 (Ref. 3-4297) & 4-4317 (Ref. 3-4298). The overall proportions on both, the regular trays and the special diet trays, completely contradicts the ‘principle’ of food service and “The determination of and responsiveness to inmate eating preferences.” – 4-4314 (Ref. 3-4295)
2. We demand an end to the violation of our constitutional right by cruel and unusual punishment, in the form of long-term segregation, under the pretext of “Disciplinary Detention” and “Administrative Segregation.” Denying us the right to formal ICA hearings and continuously holding prisoners in segregation under the above false pretences is not only a violation of our 8th Amendment right under the US Constitution, but also, our 14th Amendment right (due process) and ACA Standard 4-4255 (Ref. 3-4243), “The time an inmate spends in disciplinary detention should be proportional to the offence committed.”
3. We demand the right to have third party officials investigate the legitimate complaints of the prisoners. Also, to visit and document the conditions of the prisons to ensure an end to the corruption amongst prison officials and widespread human rights abuses of prisoners. Internal affairs’ and prison administrators’ monitoring of prison conditions have not alleviated the dangerous circumstances which we are living under while in custody of the state at WRSP, which include but are not limited to: the threat of undue physical aggression by the officers, sexual and physical abuse; deprivation of food, showers, and recreation as disciplinary and retaliatory measures; racist and homophobic verbal abuse; no fruit, rotten vegetables, etc. which violate prison policies, human and constitutional rights (8th Amendment US Constitution; O.P. 130.1; DOC Policy Chapter 5 – Officer Conduct).
4. We demand better communication between prisoners and higher ranking officials. Presently, higher ranking officers invariably take the lower ranking officers side in disputes between prisoners and officers, forcing the prisoner to act out in order to be heard. We also demand that every prisoner have unrestricted access to informal complaint forms, and other paperwork we may request. Our due process is being severely hindered by the denial of these forms.
5. We demand the right to an adequate and humane standard of living, including access to quality materials that we can use to clean our cells. Currently, we are forced to clean our entire cell, including the inside of our toilets, with a single sponge and our bare hands. Some prisoners, especially in segregation, don’t have sponges and are using torn towels and wash cloths. This is unsanitary and exposes the prisoners to disease carrying bacteria.
6. We demand our right, as enumerated through the VADOC policy, to a monthly haircut.
7. We demand that there be no reprisals or retribution toward any of the participants in the hunger strike. We are simply organizing, to exercise our 1st Amendment right of the US Constitution to its fullest extent, to shed light on the truth in the interest of more humane living conditions, after an earnest and strenuous attempt to exhaust our institutional remedies, to no avail.”