March 7, 2010
An open letter to concerned citizens
Approximately two years ago, in 2008, while incarcerated, I was given a politically
motivated “administrative transfer” from the Harrisonburg jail,
to the Middle River Regional Jail in Verona, Virginia, after writing
to the local Health Department informing them that the facility in
Harrisonburg had ceased making available HIV-testing for prisoners.
After being housed at Middle River for about three months, I was
charged by that facility's institutional investigator with two
separate Class 6 felony charges (near misdemeanors) for: (1)
“possession of a deadly weapon,” and, (2) “destruction of a
fire system:. The “deadly weapon” was a half-broken $.72 cent
toothbrush holder, and the “fire system” was a sprinkler button,
with an estimated value of less than $100.00. These charges, although
the most minuscule and petty of “offenses” under Virginia law,
carry a maximum of 10 years in prison; which I have been threatened
with potentially being sentenced to, in the Augusta County Circuit
I was released from prison nearly a year ago for good behavior after
having participated in the VA Department of Corrections' Therapeutic
Community prison facility at Indian Creek Correctional Center, for
past issues with addiction and alcoholism. Since my release, I have
maintained employment at Tyson Foods Corporation, and have not failed
a single drug screen, for which I am tested regularly.
Consequently, for the very first time, I was recently awarded visitation rights by
the courts with my only child, my 5-year-old son, Stephen Thomas.
However, the authorities in Augusta County are seeking to prosecute
me, now, nearly two years later, for the previously mentioned alleged
offenses. The authorities in Augusta County have refused our repeated
efforts to simply make restitution for the broken items in question
and are intent on sending me back to prison now, during this most
stable period of my adult life. Any plea or finding of guilt by the
court in Augusta County will result in an immediate parole violation
and a return to prison for several years, for me. The devastation
that this ordeal would cause my family, myself, and particularly my
5-year-old, is simply unimaginable.
Because of the clear racial dynamics of this case, given the constant
race-oriented insults that I was subjected to by the blatantly
white-supremacist correctional officers at Middle-River Jail on the
date of the incident 2 years ago, I am desperately requesting the
interest, investigation, attention, and support of all sympathetic
parties. I humbly request the assistance of the community in bringing
these matters to a logical, rational, and amicable conclusion. Our
community does not need yet another fatherless African-American
child, nor another unwarranted African-American prisoner.
Thank you for all your time and interest.
Steven L. Thomas
Sunday, March 07, 2010
March 7, 2010