On Shakedowns at PSCC – by David Annarelli

November 14, 2022, Monday

Shakedowns. The Virginia Department of Corrections, a bastion of fascism, has mandated that each person – 41 in Virginia Dash shot twice a year, lock down the institution and search the entire compound. Pocahontas State Corruption Center, a medium/low security facility hidden deep in the “wrong turn“ area of the Virginia mountains does it four times a year. We started our fourth one, this year, today. In fact for March of this year. We knew everyone of them was coming weeks before they arrived and were given notice two days before “the surprise”. Obviously, no one will be called with contraband. So what is the purpose of shakedown?

The Virginia DOC will likely rattle off a litany of euphemisms such as the old “security“ favorite. It’s like painting something gray, it covers everything while offering nothing. Clearly, when the captives know in advance there can be no real “security“ purpose. Moreover, when it is common knowledge that the staff are the biggest suppliers of the contraband, the idea that they would bring it into their prisoner cohorts just before a
shakedown is ludicrous. So the purpose of “security” is out of the window. In fact, after security” is shot down as a reason, as it readily is, any other reason that might be presented loses it’s validity.

To understand the purpose of such actions, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the larger, less spoken of purpose of prisons: oppression, not only of those being held captive, but of the general citizens as well, who are kept in their place by the simple fear of such oppression. Think about it. Prisons are no known to be harmful, not helpful. They are known to negatively affect both those who are held captive by them, and by extension society as a whole. Prisons cause, long-term, psychological issues, including post incarceration stress disorder, a PTSD directly caused by incarceration for only a few years (as little as three years has been suggested). And we know that prisons have no measurable effect on reducing or preventing crime. Many of the reports and statistics that prove these statements out as fact, are decades old now, yet prisons continue to persist, a sign of oppression, out of sight yet looming and foreboding.

There is also the larger picture of the economy and jobs. Oppression attracts a certain type of person who, not only seems willing, but eager to participate in an industry that profits from oppression of other people. Think of “the King’s Soldiers”, Roman Legionnaires, and those soldiers of both Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. Always, throughout all of history, the same kind of people. American prisons are no different, though Americans would rather not consider such things. It is well known, and widely accepted as fact (supported by numerous reports and statistics), that prison guards Dash and prison staff in general – tend to be amongst the dirtiest and most corrupt scum in our society. They also tend to show proclivities towards sociopathic behaviors, often at a rate of seven in 10 guards, or 70%. That is a frightening reality, and as we stated, spending any time in prison causes long-term, psychological issues, making someone who is already showing sociopathic behaviors more unstable. Every prison guard is a serial killer waiting to be unleashed, and kept only in check by the legalized torture and abuse permitted by the state, in every prison.

Which brings us back to “the shake down”. It is a cover-up and a not so subtle warning to the general public. These guards, who thrive on causing harm and revel in their state, sponsored power to commit atrocities, come into the cell of some poor captive and knowing full well that the captive has no contraband, proceeds to throw all of the captives belongings all over the 10 x 12’ cell. That guard destroys, trashes, or takes any and all items he chooses, even keeping some to take home. Justice has not been served, society is far worse for the trauma it has allowed to be inflicting upon its citizens, and the criminally inhumane actions have been rewarded by guffaws and pats on the backs by fellow guards, and a paycheck from the state.

This will last for a week, though it could easily be started and completed in just two days. Those captives that had their personal items stolen, will be forced to save up their slave wages, $.45 per hour for menial tasks, so they can buy new items like socks, sweatpants, or food. Oppression and economy. Jobs for the most dangerous members of our society. A revisiting of histories that should be long forgotten. A continuing of the same old control forms that have been used for thousands of years, by the same aristocracies as always. Locked into a 10 x 12 concrete box with another person.

The sociopathic behavior of the guards becomes even more pronounced during a shakedown. They deny you access to the ice machine and microwave, they come into the pod, singing loudly and badly, to use those very things so you can see. Food is delivered cold and late, thought that is not so uncommon. There is not a moment of outdoor fresh air. Mail disappears or suffers extensive delays. Lights are left on for 24 hours a day, and the PA system becomes even more of a weapon than it usually is.

What is the purpose of a shake down? The same purpose as everything else that prison stands for: oppression. Oppression and harm.

David Annarelli
David Annarelli is a father, musician, activist, and political prisoner. Among those who print his writing, he is a contributing writer at Prison Journalism Project.

Published by mongoosedistro

"Contains material solely for the purpose of achieving breakdown of prison through disruption" -Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice mailroom

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