Kevin Sollami

Doing Time In Virginia, by Kevin Sollami

Before I begin to bombast the Virginia DOC I feel I should reveal my opinion on prisons throughout the U.S. in general. The system is broken. Not only is the system broken, its extremely corrupt.

Prisons throughout the United States are about one thing — making someone money. Yes, on paper, and in fact, the tax payer is being fleeced. A huge amount of money is pumped into the prison industry. A lot of this money never goes where, or for what it was intended. A kickback here, a kickback there and some people get there pockets lined. Virginia DOC is no different. Don’t take my word on it, check it out for yourself. The information is available for all who take the time to look.

Kefee, JPay, GTL — companies that pay commissions. Do you believe all that money goes where it is supposed to? If you do, watch out for snake oil salesmen. They will love you.

Manipulating the system to their advantage motivates many of these so called stand up DOC employees. Look up the name, Jack Lee. Ex-warden Lee is an excellent example and there are many, many more like him currently employed in Virginia. Jack had been investigated and indicted more than once throughout the years. It only took around 20 years to finally convict him, long after he retired from the DOC. He was administrating a jail and lining his pockets. Same tricks he used working for the DOC, but this time the charge stuck. The difference, no one helped cover things up. He only received a slap on the wrist. And, I bet he is still receiving his DOC pension.

I bet most of you believe prison is about punishment and/or rehabilitation. Rehabilitation, not in Virginia. Punishment, yes — but that is secondary, and because a lot of sadistic people work for the Virginia DOC.

To be honest, there are many truly good people working for the Virginia DOC. However, there are many, many more people working for the Virginia DOC that are indifferent and just here for the paycheck. Unfortunately, there are quite a few truly bad people working for the Virginia DOC, too. Because there are so many indifferent people working these truly bad people get away with a lot. The good people get jammed up for doing the right thing.

Over the years I have witnessed many things done by DOC employees that are felonies under VA code. Why do you think prisoners are not allowed A/V recording devices? Believe me, it isn’t for security reasons. There are corrupt DOC employees ranging from some of the newest officers to the upper strata at 6900 Atmore Dr. in Richmond. If prisoners had cameras most of those corrupt pieces of ‘work’ would have been fired many years before making it to high ranking positions.

Recently, a captain named Catron was employed at Buckingham Corr. Center. He was fired because he ordered the strip search of an eight year old special needs girl. This piece of ‘work’ Catron never should have made it past his rookie year, because he had always been a truly bad egg. His father worked for the DOC, another piece of ‘work’, when ex-captain Catron was hired. The father was a bigger piece of ‘work’ than the son. Isn’t nepotism grand?

I was assaulted in 2007 while at Pocahontas Corr. Center. Five 200+ lb. officers came in my cell around 3:00 am. one morning and yanked me out of my bunk roughing me up. They claimed I was resisting and took me to the SHU. I was later released because they went to the wrong cell. I wasn’t the one they were sent to get. I weigh approximately 165 lbs. and these clowns claimed I was resisting. They were never held accountable. S. K. Young, the warden at Pocahontas at the time answered to R. A. Young, the Regional Director then. I wonder how Warden Young got away with covering so much up???!!! Could it be nepotism, again? One of those who assaulted me was fired a few years later because of another assault he committed and his cohorts could not cover it up. Oh, that officer beat people up as a courtesy for one of the gangs. That’s business as usual in the Virginia DOC.

Nepotism and cronyism have rotted the Virginia DOC to its very core. Someone is usually there to cover for another’s bad behavior.

I admit I do not enjoy being incarcerated. I also realize prison isn’t supposed to be fun. That doesn’t give the DOC the right to promote criminal behavior by its employees. The rules should apply to everyone. That is not the way it is with the Virginia DOC. Policy is subjective and selective. In many circumstances the rules only apply when used against the inmates. That’s the Virginia DOC way.

Hey, I’m just a disgruntled Virginia prisoner who just likes to complain and I am probably a liar. At least that is what the people in charge of the Virginia DOC would tell you if asked.

I am a convicted felon and am guilty of my crimes committed in 1987. What I am not, is a liar. Virginia’s DOC has a lot of criminals and unethical people working for it. I don’t believe accountability is in the DOC’s vocabulary.

It seems the patients are running the asylum. I don’t believe that is conducive to rehabilitation. Rehabilitation, isn’t that what prison is supposed to be about? Not in Virginia. As long as someone is getting paid why change the status quo, right?

Maybe you believe that prisoners deserve what they get because of the crimes we’ve committed. Most prisoners do get released. Do you want a rehabilitated man back in your community or an angry man with a righteous chip on his shoulder released into your community? Guess which one you’re getting in Virginia? Another question, how many of you have a family member or friend incarcerated? If not, some day that may change.

What I’ve just written is a small fraction of the reality. Sadly, This is the norm for Doing Time In Virginia.

For those of you currently residing in Virginia, don’t feel bad. I suspect this is the norm throughout the rest of the country, too.

Kevin Sollami
DOC #1165012

Categories: Kevin Sollami

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