It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. Ironically, I’m in the same place I was the last time I wrote an update. I’ve been here in the “hole” for 8 months now and have been put on something called “Administrative Control” which is essentially a license to keep me in Solitary Isolation for an “undetermined amount of time” I have a friend, a remarkably resilient fellow named Eric Chapman who has been in AC for almost 11 years…. After 7 months in here I was told by the Unit Administrator (UA) Lauren Massey that Deputy Warden Plappert demanded that I receive “programming”—they literally used that Orwellian language, I have it in writing. The “program” they require me to take is called the “Transition Unit” (TU). It received state and Federal funding and is intended for prisoners who are kept in the hole for years who need “help” transitioning back into General Population. The state and Federal funding has become the main motivation for forcing inmates like me into taking the “program”. Well. I believe anyone who has been following these events with me believes as I do that this is a retaliatory action for being a Whistle Blower—writing an article about the horrid conditions and abusive treatment in KSP (KY State Penitentiary) in Kentucky’s Louisville Courier Journal in August of last year.
On top of the 7 months I’ve already been in the hole, plus that 6 months (or more) that it takes to complete the TU, I was told by UA Massey that there are 21 people ahead of me on the waiting list. Six people go into the class every 6 weeks, thus I will be in this dungeon (truly) for at least another year which makes at least 19 months in one of the worst Holes in the country for illegal write-ups (see my prior update https://www.justiceforjohnbuckley.com/what-happens-down-here-and-what-continues- to-happen-is-a-crime/
Many of you know that my Aunt Carol is my champion and my main source of support. As lovely as she is, she can be quite the bulldog—it’s a Buckley thing that has extended to may super-strong daughters too. My Aunt contacts KY prison justice organizations and media outlets constantly, as well as KY DOC and state leaders to attempt to move them to take action against what is happening here. She influenced surprise inspectors to come here from the Protection and Advocacy Center (P&A) in Frankfort to actually LISTEN to what we’ve been screaming about for years. (To preface this, I must first say that a “surprise” inspection hasn’t been done at KSP since it was under federal receivership back in the mid-90s. At one time, it was known as one of the most violent prisons and there was a book written about it called “The Castle”. ) The inspectors came right up to my cell door… there were dead cockroaches on the floor, birds chirping in the rafters. They saw the rats jumping in and out of the ventilation shaft (the one that circulates the air we breathe) at the back of the wall. There is no air conditioning so the temperature was stifling. The offensive nature of the building assaulted their senses. The smell? A heavy smattering of feces—human, rat/mouse and bird–mixed with body odor over every surface. Sadly, I’m used to smell but they certainly weren’t. And then there are the sounds: Screams, moans, echoes—constant day and night. This environment makes people go mad. One of the only ways to vent their rage is to scream, cackle or sob. KSP is literally Kentucky’s Madhouse. The severly mentally ill sit here, covered in their own feces. Some of them kill themselves. Some of them starve to death. I’ve seen it. This administration looks the other way and by their own actions and inaction, encourages it.
But probably more than any other sense, I doubt the two lawyers and one social worker that came to my cell door last month could believe their own eyes; I’ve described what this is like to you in the past dear readers, but it’s gotten much, much worse. Like children who are never disciplined, the Warden, Deputy Wardens and Internal Affairs Captain Bare (who we suspect really runs the prison) have gotten more brazen in their illegal, abusive conduct and testing their limits to see how much they can get away with. As our visitors from the P & A saw for themselves, half of the Isolation cells didn’t have working sinks, the other half had toilets leaking sewage from ancient plumbing (this prison was built in 1870) onto the floor s of the tiny 4×9 cells to the delight I’m sure of the vermin who constant invade our filthy space. It’s no wonder I have a constant bleeding rash that I cannot shake any time I am here because it is truly the dirtiest place I have ever been, and that includes the 3 rd World countries I fought in. They were 5-star Hilton’s compared to this place..
What I did love was the validation I saw on their faces: they were HORRIFIED. They were accompanied by Dpty Warden Plappert and Bruce. It may actually be the first time any prisoner at KSP has ever seen Plappert. She came in wearing jean shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt with a big eagle emblazoned on it. On one of her biceps was a tattooed eagle. (she clearly likes eagles). She certainly didn’t look professional. As I explained to our visitors the horribly dire circumstances under which we were forced to exist, including the constant vermin infestation, Plappert interrupted, “Well everyone has rats and roaches in their homes!” …..Yep! she really said that. The P & A Lawyer looked at her as if she’s just grown horns. I don’t know what kind of home she grew up in, or what kind of house she keeps, but this gave us all a clue.
I told them of my status as an Army Ranger, Purple Heart and Valor Award Recipient and that I was 100% service-connected disabled from the VA for PTSD, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and various other combat injuries. Obviously YEARS in isolation is not definitely not conducive to my mental health or to anyone else’s in this horrible place, it is indeed harmful to the extreme. And not to mention that I am an innocent man in this situation. I watched the P&A people question others. These other lost souls were able to have their voices heard! The buoyant effect that something could actually CHANGE lifted everyone’s spirits. The panicked, defeated look on the faces of attending prison officers I would’ve paid to see! The awful knowing that their dirty little secret was going to get out…
I know that the DOC Commissioner must be approving of the illegal activities going on here at KSP. The full width and breadth of the KY Department of Corrections resources, including their team of taxpayer funded lawyers, support their “right” to torture, abuses, humiliate, murder and force prisoners like me to live in conditions that are not fit for factory-farmed animals let alone American citizens. How do I know they must approve? Because my Aunt and others have been writing, emailing, calling, faxing, sending packets to all KY leaders including the Commissioner and the Governor for 2 years with no reply, no return call…But for a glorious moment, we made them sweat..we knocked them off their pedestal.
And that gives me hope that we’re doing something right! Special love vibes to my Aunt who is a true Buckley warrior and to my 3 daughters, all in high school. (And I’m not cool with that, that means I’m old!)
Ranger Buckley on the Front Lines, Out!..
RLTW! (Ranger Lead the Way)