John Update

Feb/March 2023

To all my supporters:

It’s been a while since my last update. A lot changed and yet I find myself right back where I started.  I’ll get to that in a minute…

As many of you know, I made myself quite a nuisance to the Administration at KSP last year  I demanded outrageous things like: showers, a living area free of rats and roaches, to see the outside of my cell more than once every few weeks and so on.  I filed 44 Conditions of Confinement grievances, and when those were dismissed without cause, out of desperation and lack of anywhere else to turn I wrote an Open Letter to the Governor, Commissioner of KY DOC and the Warden, bought a full page ad in the Sunday edition of the Louisville Courier Journal and posted it there.

It took months for the slow-moving bureaucracy to catch wind of the article which contained truths about the horrid living conditions, assaults and even the murder of an inmate I witnessed in which the COs were never held accountable or prosecuted in any way (one of them is a senior staff member that makes daily decisions about my well-being.)  Once the article came out in the open, the Administration began to worry about exposure because I did not exaggerate one bit—if anything, I had to edit names out in order to decrease liability for the paper.  However, the result was that I was transferred to another prison.

The transfer came as a surprise, I was not expecting it.  I was sent to a lower-security prison in Eastern KY called Southeast Correctional center.  KY DOC is actually leasing the prison from Core Civic—a “for profit prison company—who previously ran the prison until 2013 when it was shut down for a rash of sexual assaults against female prisoners housed there, costing the state millions and shutter the site.  In 2018, the state had a shortage of prison space (in a state that has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the nation) and Floyd County (where SSCC is located) convinced the state to reopen the prison.

Honestly, I was thrilled to be ANYWHERE besides KSP. There are always good and bad things about most prisons, the trick is to focus on the good and accept the bad as “part of it”(a phrase for all things encompassed in the “prison experience”) But prison is still prison.  If I compare every day I have to the worst day, then in context it’s not that bad. Especially ifmy worst day is being kept naked in a 54degree concrete “observation cell’ with no mattress, shoes or clothes and only a bucked to go the bathroom in for a week which was Torture, and I thought I would die—then it’s not that bad.

Perspective is everything in prison as it is in life, a lesson I’m trying to impart to my teenage girls from afar.  But things were SO BAD at KSP that there was really nothing but the Upside at SSCC. I went from a single cell at KSP to an open dorm with 100 other people, and while this is a difficult adjustment for a combat Veteran with severe PTSD, I made it.  The staff was more respectful, the dorms were cleaner and all the tension was off because the Warden there didn’t have his officers walking around treating us like animals.  I turned 40 a few days after getting there and I guess as a present, I got COVID for the 3rd time.  It felt more like the fluand I didn’t leave my bed for a week.  Then out of nowhere, I was taken to the HOLE.

Back at KSP, EVERYTHING is territorial.  Gangs and clicks are just part of the yard culture. Most of the whites tend to flock to the “white supremist” groups.Swastikas and Iron Crosses everywhere!  I detest that ideology.  The love of my life is a Hispanic woman and I have a mixed race child that I adore. I couldn’t be around those people so the circles I ended up running in were inclusive of all races. Somehow despite being in an actual gang, I was put into a gang file. This was YEARS ago. The 2ndtime I was forced to endure this place (this is my 4th time here); I spent years trying to get out of the file.  In April 2021, I was given a “gang write-up” for having a Purple Heart painted right underneath a 3rd Ranger Battalion Scroll on my guitar. The gang coordinator said due to his years and experience, the Purple Heart signified the wound I received when I was stabbed at Lee County Adjustment Center in 2018, thus it was gang related.  It couldn’t have been because I am an ACTUAL Purple Heart Awardee and an ACTUAL Army Ranger with ACTUAL combat experience.   Nope! It was a gang symbol.  That was the justification for sending me back to KSP the 3rd time.

So, back at SSCC, I’m sitting in the hole, I don’t know why. The internal affairs lady Capt. Taylor informs me that she worked with CPT Bare (head of IA at KSP) at Luther Lucket Correctional Complex.  She then tells me I’m under “investigation” but not for what.  Now let’s be clear. It was my full intention to stay at that Medium Security prison –SSCC—for as long as I could, I wouldn’t have risked being moved.  I sat in the hole for 3 weeks for no reason, none given. Through Christmas, New Years and my Kinley’s birthday.

On Christmas, back at KSP, what I had been warning about for 18 months finally happened.  Many of you that have read my updates and the article I put in the Louisville Courier can attest to the amount of times I’ve written that KSP was not safe for staff or inmates.  On Christmas Day, a day that is already horribly antagonistic to inmates—we miss our kids and families so much and it’s the day most people will try and succeed at committing suicide– on that day at KSP (remember I wasn’t there, I was 9 hrs. away at SSCC but this was what I was told), a known antagonistic bully showed up to work, kicking people’s bars at 6AM, telling them “Merry F-ing Christmas!”  I’ve had words with this guy in the past; he’s not a reasonable person.  As we say in here, “He’s feeling the power of that shiny tin badge!”  I guess he just happened to pick on a couple of guys that who have Life without Parole supposedly. Allegedly, these guys assaulted him and he was hurt pretty badly.  I have been warning about this inevitability for 2 years.  These guys that allegedly assaulted this Correctional Officer just happened to be in the same file I was forced into by inept Internal Affairs officers like the Purple Heart genius and CPT Bare, and all of the sudden back at SSCC Captain Taylor (CPT Bare’s friend) is at my cell door in Solitary, asking me if I’m planning to attack staff at SSCC!!

I suppose I should have known right then that the fix was in, but I’m pretty naïve still. Deep down some part of me still believes that you have to actually DO SOMETHING WRONG in order to be punished for it.  The sad reality of life though is that punishments & persecutions come for many of us whether we’re in the wrong or NOT. It took them 3 weeks to cook up a reason to ship me back here to KSP.  But what a glorious 3 weeks it was—I’ll get into that real quick:

The “investigation” ended on Jan 5th. I had a message from my Aunt that my 2 youngest girls, Kinley and Presley, finally wanted to talk to me. Their mother had contacted my Aunt to arrange us connecting on a phone call. I had always made an effort through  the years, sending letters, cards and gifts to my mom and Aunt to hold in trust for the day they would reach out, and that was the 1st week in January….My girls are truly amazing! Kinley is the captain of her wrestling team and is a champion in Jujitsu.  Presley also excels in these sports.  I know they can both whip boys which makes me very proud!   They are both great students, making straight As and Presley is an artist like her daddy while Kinley is determined to be President one day!  They have both been talking to my other glorious daughter Laila, which is such a blessing because I know they have missed each other SO much over the years they have been separated!  The pictures and the videos…hearing my little babies grown up voices after all these years, it’s beyond words!…which is why it’s so hard to be snatched back away from them and put back into this hell hole without any email or calls except for one on Sundays…

January 26th I was put back into the hold “under Investigation’ again. The next day super early I was shipped back to Eddyville (KSP), to my utter shock and dismay.  I was sent back here with 5 other “confirmed gang members’ of the Nazi persuasion. Upon arrival there late that night, Capt. Bare, the head of Internal Affairs here at KSP, met the van in front of the prison and said “I was the pretty little girl with the pony tail out first” (referring to me). While walking up the stairs he said “So you thought you could get away with writing an article? Welcome back to hell!”  everything he said was in front of witnesses.  While walking in the front door, he yelled “I’ve got the self-proclaimed Leader of the _______ (gang name)!  Announcing this in front of other confirmed gang members—something he KNOWS for a fact is a LIE—could get me killed!  He knows who the real gang members are. If those other inmates were to go spread that rumor, I could get stabbed or worse.  CPT Bare then madeanother announcement that the reason we had ALL just been shipped to KSP was because I was supposedly going to give an “order” to attack a guard!  This was also a tactic to get me killed; Bare knew exactly what he was doing

I was put back in the dungeon of 3 Cell House. Just as horrible and illegal as ever.  I had been gone barely 2 months!  It was like a bad dream. I decided to sleep my first day away, more out of depression than anything. This is a pretty normal response from me upon being transferred to another prison. The next morning I was told to back up to the door. I was taken to the strip out cages and my clothes were taken away from me, and they said I was on “hunger Strike.” WHAT?? The trays from breakfast were still sitting there.  I said “I’m not on Hunger Strike! Give me a tray and I’ll eat it in front of you right now!”  Correctional Officer Pinky and Sgt. Clark heard me say that.  Still I was taken to the “watch walk” and left for a week.  I was kept naked in a freezing cold cell except for a “suicide dress”.  At 6AM I was forced to lie completely naked on the dirtiest floor on earth (never clean) face down on the floor, while male and female C.O.s stared at me for at least 30 mins. I was then directed through a series of humiliating poses until I was handcuffed and shackled and removed from the cell.   My mattress and sandals were taken and not returned until 11PM.  Soooo, those actually having mental health crisis were being tortured for it as a matter of KSP policy…. I was being tortured for no reason. I was not allowed to shower, brush my teeth or wash my hands for the entire week…..Does this sound RETAILATORYyet?

Finally, I end up in THIS cell, a cell I’ve been in before.  I’m terrified that I’ve disappointed Kinley and Presley by losing contact. But I know what kind of fight I’m in. “Evidence” has already been planted in my property. A note that isn’t TO me or FROM me or in my handwriting “mysteriously” appears in my property. Because of a policy amendment last year, 2 or more “gang” write-ups in 2 years can now be considered a Category 7-8 write up. It’s the same thing as killing a guard or rioting….thanks for the Purple Heart genius and now this “note’ that was “found’ by CPT Bare, I can lose 4 years of non-restorable good time per charge and get up to 180 days in the Hole…

So that’s the update. I wish it as good news, God I wish that!  But I’m in the trenches and the fight continues. Today is NOT as bad as my worst day…but things are tough. I plan on meeting the challenge as any Ranger does.  Obviously violence isn’t the answer, but bringing awareness is.  What happens down here and what continues to happen is a CRIME.  I need help exposing this truth and I hope you will share. Thanks for taking the time to read. And Remember

Today is NOT as bad as YOUR worst day.

Ranger Buckley from the frontlines—Out!

RLTW!  (Rangers Lead the Way)