Incarcerated writer Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, recently transferred to Ohio, describes abusive conditions at the infamous Lucasville prison. Content warning for descriptions of violence.
The Psychosis of Torture
Some behavioral theorists believe that children who torture animals (those who pull the wings off flies for example), display early pathological tendencies and will likely become sociopaths or violent psychotics as they age.
What does this say about entire communities that revel in inflicting even greater cruelties on other humans? On this point, I’m thinking of Western slave societies, and abuses described by historians like C.L.R. James, in The Black Jacobins, his renowned account of the slave revolution that overthrew slavery in Haiti. James described such abuses inflicted on slaves for sport, as packing a slave’s rectum with gunpowder and igniting it.
Western slave society has always been barbaric, and it still is. Cruel abuses continue to be inflicted — in U.S. prisons for example, where forced slave labor still abounds. The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility aka Lucasville, where I’m presently imprisoned, provides a perfect example.
I’ve been at Lucasville only a few weeks (having been recently expelled from the Indiana prison system, my sixth interstate prison transfer in nine years, for challenging and exposing abuses there), and have heard nothing but a steady stream of horror stories of prisoners suffering torment and abuse (from lynchings—hangings staged as suicides—to beatings and starvation) at the hands of staff who come from racially segregated rural white communities, where racism is obviously a deeply ingrained cultural trend.
Guards at Lucasville carry themselves with an air of impunity that comes from working in an environment where abusing disempowered and disadvantaged people is like the air they breathe.
The Torment of Robert Scott
While certainly not among the worst incidents of abuse I’ve been told about, the experience of Robert Scott #682746, provides an example of the treatment of prisoners at Lucasville.
On November 4, 2020, Robert, believably suffering from COVID-19, fell ill in his cell, where he began vomiting, and collapsed. Two white guards, C. Scott and Glockner, had a wheelchair summoned, and wheeled him to a holding cell where they handcuffed him.
He was at all times conscious and coherent, only very ill. C. Scott disregarded Robert’s complaints of illness and persisted in telling him that he was high—a common accusation guards make to invalidate and discredit any number of issues a prisoner may have, from medical emergencies to mental health crises.
Scott asked Robert a range of questions testing his coherence and awareness of current events and his surroundings, attempting to demonstrate that Robert was high. Robert, however, answered all the questions accurately and persisted that he was ill, not high, and needed medical care.
Instead of addressing his complaint of possible COVID infection, a nurse named Mault who was summoned, proceeded to administer two doses of the counter-overdose drug Narcan to Robert. Scott then hit Robert in the hand and leg with his baton, fracturing his hand, and Glockner punched him in the face and slapped him several times. Scott then retrieved a syringe from nurse Mault and stabbed Robert repeatedly in the face with it and raked the needle across his face.
These guards were making a mockery and sport of Robert’s condition, assaulting him as if attempting to revive an unconscious person, but actually aiming to provoke a defensive reaction to the pain they were inflicting so they could then openly beat him under the guise of attempting to subdue a combative prisoner, which is a common “game” that guards play.
After this sadistic abuse, a lieutenant named Setty provided the false report that would provide cover for the entire affair. Setty filed a trumped-up disciplinary report claiming that Robert confessed to him that he was in fact high from smoking K2, which of course resulted in a finding of guilt and further punishment for the made-up infraction. Slaves have no credibility.
This is how “justice” looks in U.S. slave society. Just like the summary lynchings, burnings and beatings during the antebellum and later Jim Crow eras, carried out as public “sport” by jubilant mobs of “respectable” people. Mobs that were egged on by, and included, government officials. Again, this is the pathology of unfree society: Capitalism and racism.
The Fear of Exposure of Abuse
I think most people would agree that even contemplating what Robert suffered is traumatic; a Black man fallen ill, helpless, handcuffed, was assaulted, drugged, humiliated, then lied on and punished. He tried repeatedly to complain and receive some redress for his abuses, and was thwarted at every turn. I read his frustrated attempts.
Again, his experience is by far not among the worst abuses here at Lucasville that I’ve heard about. In fact, officials here don’t want me to hear about any of it. They know I’ll write about it, publicizing it to the public, and they fear what they can’t control—namely the public.
I was “warned” against doing this while I was at Ohio’s Correctional Reception Center by a Security Threat Group investigator named Nate Harris. He threatened that if I did start “being an asshole,” which he described as writing “radical” articles that generate bad publicity and public protest against the Ohio prison system, my security level would be raised and I’d be thrown into, and kept in, solitary confinement.
Here at Lucasville, although I’m in general population, the entire staff have been telling the prisoners around me not to talk to me, and threatening to ransack their cells, throw them in solitary, etc. if they defy these orders. Several prisoners have been made examples of already.
As with all corruptions, the horrors of slave society thrive in darkness. There are legions of skeletons hanging by their necks in the closets at Lucasville. And I’m as bent as ever on being that “asshole” who helps lift the veil (actually, the white hoods) off the faces of the people who hung them there.
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!