Urgent action alert: Stop prison officials from blocking Shaka Shakur’s access to educational and vocational services

by Seth Donnelly

Shaka Shakur is a politically active incarcerated New Afrikan who was transferred on Dec. 18, 2018, from the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) as part of a campaign by prison officials to neutralize his activism. This transfer was done in violation of his due process rights as a prisoner.

He is currently incarcerated at the Sussex 1 State Prison in Waverly, Virginia. His VADOC number is 1996207. Since being held there, his right to access educational and vocational programs has been violated. Below is a summary of these violations in Shaka’s own words:

“1) I was moved out of the state of Indiana against my will in violation of Indiana Code and due process. I was never afforded any form of hearing where I was informed as to why I was being shipped out of state nor allowed to present evidence challenging the decision to move me.

“2) Upon my arrival to the prison system in Virginia, I was never given any form of orientation. I’ve never been informed as to what my rights are, nor informed as to how I can go about challenging any decision made by the state of Virginia. I’ve only been informed that the state of Virginia has custody of my body and that all decisions pertaining to my classification, security level and placement were being determined and controlled by the state of Indiana and its Department of Corrections (IDOC).

“3) There is supposed to be an IDOC liaison who oversees my placement in Virginia and communicates with an official in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) named Ms. Collins. She has refused to respond to any and all efforts to contact her by myself or any outside sources. Any questions I’ve had pertaining to video visits, security level, placement and classification have gone unanswered except for being told that it is up to Indiana.

“4) Per Indiana Code, I am supposed to be afforded the same rights and privileges as if I was still in Indiana. That includes jobs, programming, religious services etc. To deny me such is a constitutional violation and discrimination. In fact, it denies me equal protection under the law. I am not being allowed to find a job outside of the housing unit. I’m being told that I’m not going to be allowed to drop my security level even though my points will drop as low as 10 points in Virginia and less than 15 in Indiana. Both of which would qualify me for a Level 3 security level placement.

“5) The counselor Ponce falsified my classification review and progress report by lying and saying that I had assaulted a staff member within the last 12 months. This was in order to justify my continued placement at a level 4 or 5 prison. When this was brought to her attention, she pretended that she had corrected it and instead further falsified the report and then blamed it on Indiana. I have copies of these documents and my lawyer has the originals [see images posted in event below].”

Furthermore:

6) The doctors at Sussex 1 have not been provided with Shaka’s medical records past 2014. Shaka experiences nerve and other issues due to a degenerative disc on which he has been operated. Without these records he cannot be provided with the necessary care for his chronic condition.

7) There is no appeals process available to Shaka or any other out-of-state inmate. Indiana code establishes the sender state [Indiana] as having unchallenged authority in cases of interstate transfer. Having access only to internal grievance procedures in Virginia, Shaka is unable to appeal decisions made in Indiana.

You can read about Shaka’s long history of activism and rebellious activity in Indiana prisons here and here.

What you can do to support Shaka

Call Indiana DOC Executive Director of Classification Jack Hendrix at 317-232-2247. Leave a message with whoever you are able to speak to, or a voicemail. You can also email Jack Hendrix at jdhendrix@idoc.in.gov. We are asking all supporters of Shaka to make calls and send emails between Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 13-15.

Please tell Director Hendrix to drop Shaka’s security level to a Level 3, for which he qualifies, so that he can access vocational and educational programs or to authorize Shaka’s lateral transfer to a facility where he can be allowed to participate in vocational and educational programs. Also, please demand that the Indiana DOC needs to make sure that the doctors at Sussex 1 State Prison in Virginia gain immediate access to Shaka’s medical records so he can receive long-overdue medical treatment.

As Shaka stated, “How am I supposed to work my way back to Indiana if I’m not being allowed to participate in anything positive or constructive?”

To make a donation to Shaka Shakur’s legal defense fund and for more info on his case, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/shaka-shakur-legal-defense-fund.

See and share: https://facebook.com/events/492764134658398/?ti=icl.

For more information, contact Seth Donnelly at sethdonnelly2000@yahoo.com.