Attention Kerri O’Brien, reporter at WRIC TV News in Richmond, Virginia, Florida Governor DeSantis and all those who are concerned when justice becomes cruelty.
Here is one Virginia prisoner’s perspective on what we dare call our justice system.
Bill is decent guy, a non-violent offender who admittedly made mistakes and is now paying for them in spades.
He’s going on 12 long, hard years in a hot, sticky cell, during one of the most sweltering years in recorded history as temperatures are rising exponentially, according to his attorney Peter Ticktin, ironically also the founder of The Global Warming Foundation.
Bill’s a prisoner at one of Virginias remote elite (sarcasm intended), grey stone monuments to society’s collective failure toward our fellow man.
“It’s beyond sweltering and dangerous here during the heatwave with more on the way,” he writes to me. “We’re just prisoners, society’s dregs, so does it really matter?
“They don’t lock kids or dogs in hot cars with the blazing sun blasting through the glass with a decrepit ventilation system. But here they do it to prisoners routinely and no one gives a damn. Day after day of in-cell temperatures of 110° plus.
“Then to add insult to injury and intense unrelenting suffering, I learned there was a news story about how well we prisoners here are treated during the blistering heat over the past several days, claiming we’re safe and getting frequent bottled water, ice and extra fans, etc. What bullshit!!!
“The same BS as the propaganda Mission Statements posted all over these places, reassuring the oblivious few that prisons now are to be a safe place of healing, respect and dignity. Don’t believe it.”
Kerri and other media, please interview my friend Bill and his fellow inmates for the truth as it pertains to actual conditions.
Call me and I’ll tell you Bill’s real name as he worries constantly about his own safety in such a dangerous place where prisoners can get their throats cut or beaten to death.
My friend Bill happens to be an author whose book “Dursturbed” about suspected serial killer Robert Durst, my PR firm TransMedia Group is arranging to have made into a movie.
He is in a Virginia state prison for a non-violent crime where he tells me the ice machines have been broken for days and when ice does show up, some of the guys assigned are too lazy to get it or when they do it’s stolen by thugs because no one supervises its distribution.
Bottled water? Bill says anyone who thinks there’s sufficient bottled water for prisoners is kidding themselves. “We see it but ONLY staff ever gets it.”
Bill says anytime staff wants to drink it, they do because the tap water is so unsafe for staff to drink that they let us prisoners drink the unsafe water instead.
“With upwards of 64 people crammed into housing units, our ice machine for the unit is tiny, often broken and in this heat only puts out about 30 ice cubes every hour and a half or so. Bullies and wanna-be thugs get those too. On top of that, prison staff write serious disciplinary charges against anyone who would dare to use a towel to cover their cell window to block out heat generating sunlight during the few peak hours of the day.
“We’ve been requesting additional in-pod fans for years and we are always denied them by administrators comfortable in their air-conditioned offices. For years they haughtily proclaim that they will install air conditioning. We’re still waiting!
“A court order requires it now, but still they don’t install it and instead pay a gigantic fine as we swelter in misery, some of us I’ve heard are near death.
Bill is on the Offender Representative Committee and knows what he’s talking about. He has advocated for prisoner rights, humane treatment and conditions, for meaningful programs, improved relations between offenders and staff, assisted the indigent and the imprisoned illiterates for decades and is a member of the National Lawyers Guild as well as the Mass Incarceration Committee.
Bill has accepted responsibility for his non-violent actions that landed him in this awful place after he was convicted in Martin County, Florida on charges of burglary. Florida and Virginia have reciprocity prison arrangements for convicts.
Today Bill is an intelligent, educated, thoroughly rehabilitated and reformed individual who has more than paid for his non-violent crimes and even has helped ATF agents to prosecute and convict far worse criminals. Many in law enforcement praise his brave cooperation. While incarcerated, he has attended Washington and Lee University to improve his education.
Today he’s writing books based primarily upon his experiences in the criminal Justice system and his current book gets excellent reviews on Amazon and has been covered in national and international media, also featured at Sundance Film Festival and he has screenplay and movie offers in the works.
“Some of us in prison break our backs to do what’s right, serve our time productivity and I feel it is my absolute obligation to help others to avoid the wrong path unfortunately I took when I was young and foolish.
My first book is about the alleged wealthiest serial killer in American history and efforts to bring him to justice titled: “Sex and The Serial Killer: My Bizarre Times with Robert Durst” By William Steel (my pseudonym) and Gary Greenberg (2019) Available on Amazon, Kindle and wherever books are sold.
For media inquiries, interview requests, speaking engagements, contact TransMedia Group 561-750-9800 x0 or email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.