John update 09/26/2021

Dear Reader,

So it seems I’ve come full circle. When my aunt Carol and I began this journey of informing you all about my nightmare existence here in Kentucky, I was buried in the deepest, darkest hole the Commonwealth had at Kentucky’s only Max Security Penitentiary, the end of the line for an inmate…Eddyville. They send people down here to bury them. In previous writings I’m sure I’ve mentioned this place. The last time I was here (my 2nd tour)), I was buried in the hole (Isolation) for 18 months straight before I got out. They do that here. This place has 215 segregation cells—3 times as many as any other prison in the state. They house both Death Row and Permanent Protective Custody alongside (but separate from) the General Population inmates here.

For those of you familiar with my previous update about my exodus from Green River ( , now the actions of the the warden there make sense. A quick synopsis: I filed a lawsuit against Warden Mazza for taking 4 years of good time from me without good reason. 3 days after being served the lawsuit, prison guards snatched me off the yard and put into the hole. In retaliation for filing that lawsuit ALL of my property was taken (stolen) by the institution: All of my finished art, my art supplies, my guitar and even my watch. All of my clothes, including underwear, my shower shoes, my toiletries. I literally was left with NOTHING. Anything that had any meaning for me, and everything that I needed to just live day-to-day was removed, boxed up and sent away. My daughter Laila has some of my stuff now but unless I get out of prison, I will never see it again. Mind you, this amounts to thousands of dollars—and these things were bought from the prison system itself! Now I have to purchase them back from the prison system— scammers!

(pictures of me with my painted guitar are on this site under Johns Music & Art).

So why was a thrown in Solitary? And even before any hearing or ability to dispute the charges? I was labeled a “gang member” for having painted a Purple Heart on my guitar.. I am a Purple Heart recipient, I have no idea what my medal has to do with gangs. Then they said I had “too much stuff”—so they took it all (mind you, I had ordered and bought everything I had from the prison itself) instead of letting me have something left to wear and use. They said my “art card” was late 2 weeks being renewed so they took ALL my art supplies! Everything that helps keep me calm and peaceful and away from people in this hellish place. It is my therapy. I was also charged in outside court with having “contraband” Keep in mind that contraband can be anything from Tylenol or pornography to a “weapon” or drugs. I am still in the dark as to what “contraband” was found because I wasn’t allowed to see it, only was told that it “resembled a weapon” and was found in the proximity of my cell—which means anywhere in or out. (200 people share that same common area in a dorm). But Warden Mazza created the narrative that he needed to have me sent back to Eddyville, i.e. a violent gang member despite be not having any issue for over a year.   So here I am.

This is my 3rd visit to this hellhole but in all honesty I’ve never seen it like this. This prison was built right after the Civil War and there is no way it should still be open! Right before I was sent back here 2 of the General Population dorms and the Super Max Segregated Unit (#7 cell house where I did that last 18 months in Solitary) were condemned. They should have been condemned 50 years ago along with the rest of this place! Another development: most of the staff quit! KSP (Eddyville) is currently operating at 20% of their recommended staff. As an example, in the hole where I currently am, there are 215 inmates and they only have 2 staff members to work the Cell House! In these situations, what the staff will do is leave us locked down 24/7. We never leave the cell, not for a shower, not for a breath of fresh air or exercise— Even the constitutionally mandated “Basic Human Needs’ are being ignored.   Today is my 8th day without a shower and my 14th day without any sort of recreation.   All I can do, all anyone can do is file grievances to try to get remedies, and most times there is nothing done. But it does create a standing record of wrongs done and that’s the main reason I do this.

This place closely resembles the prions on “Shawshank Redemption”. The cells are legit 5 x 9s. I can reach both walls with each hand. It is smaller than a closet and it is 100* in this cell. Most of us sleep directly on the floor because it’s cooler, but that’s an issue because there is a massive cockroach infestation. It is a daily occurrence to wake up with one crawling on me. Many guys keep them as pets, competing to raise the largest roach. I’ve not been able to clean my cell in a month and have a rash all over my body. Meanwhile the staff shrug their shoulders as if unconcerned—it’s wild! In times past they at least made the pretense of pretending they were complying with the law but now they make no bones about —shamelessly treating other Human Beings worse than animals and not losing any sleep over it. (Eddyville is notorious for human rights violations as the Human Rights Defense Center will confirm)

I honestly never thought I’d come back here after the last time. I have 3 conflicts in being housed here—other inmates who I’ve had violent encounters with, including one of the 6 inmates who stabbed and tortured me 2 years ago @ Lee County Adjustment Center (read about that here ) causing a “conflict” to be put into the system, meaning we can’t be at the same prison. This should have ensured I would not be sent back here, but they shipped all three of those guys to other prisons just to bring me back…

I have to ask myself from time to time if it’s just me. Do I bring this on myself? I’m no angel by any means, but I don’t do drugs and I’ve managed to avoid violence for over a year (if you don’t get out of its way, it will find you). Furthermore, what could possibly be the reason to treat other human beings like this? The POWs in my charge were treated much better than I am. Even the allegations in my case are non-violent. But the “justice’ system has continued to hammer me, painting me as some “Rambo” without me doing anything to perpetuate that stereotype. From that very first conflict with the cowardly Detective Cobb (please read ‘John’s Story” on my website) which started all of this to now my Purple Heart being a “gang symbol’ and my occupying this 5 x 9 cell esperately needing a shower—it all has the same theme. I am seen as a “threat” and it’s not because I’m a violent person or a criminal. It’s not because I’m a bully with a threatening look on my face. It’s because I’m a warrior who served my country. My training and sacrifices on behalf of my nation have become my curse. I fit the “Rambo” stereotype cops and guards have seen in a movie and so they abuse their authority to make themselves feel stronger. I made the mistake of protecting my family from an off-duty Detective 12 years ago who was rightfully reprimanded by a grand jury for his actions and by getting myself on the wrong side of that coward I’ve never been able to recover. Despite all of the good things I’ve done in the world, there is an anti-Veteran mentality that exists amidst the majority civilian “justice system”. And that is Real. I’m living proof.

I know I have no credibility right now. I know most people believe that a person cannot come to prison unless they’ve done something wrong. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, and evidence that was never allowed to be presented. My hope is that once my innocence is verified by the media, once my conviction si overturned, that I will be believed then.

It is not just myself being treated so terribly in here. My neighbor is getting out of prison in 45 days after doing 6+ years in the Hole. This facility has lacked the staff to safely run this prison for over a year! The men in here are from all races, they range in age from 18-80! With all the Social/Racial Awareness going on in our country, with the attitude toward the “justice system” changing, when will the public turn their eyes toward us—the ones who have already been thrown away? This system of Mass Incarceration doesn’t work and is a travesty considering the values this country claims to espouse. This experience resembles a prison in a 3rd world country.

I am Ranger John Calvin Buckley, actually Innocent, Wrongfully Convicted, a Purple Heart & Valor Award recipient. College educated father of 3 beautiful girls. I have to remind myself of who I am, that’s how I try to keep it together, I’m not an animal in a cell. I’ve posted about the wrongs in the past, but what I’m experiencing right now boggles the mind. American should be ashamed of allowing such places with inhuman conditions to exist. Please care about the imprisoned, get involved in reforming the system right where you are. We have to all raise our voices!

Ranger Buckley Out!

John 1V RLTW!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Princess Laila! Father of a teenager—I’m an old man!

By |2023-09-22T13:49:19-06:00September 26th, 2021|Categories: Letters from John, News & Updates|0 Comments

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