Annual Rally at the Capitol

This website is for everyone who advocates for prisoners and seeks solutions to the judicial racism that plagues our criminal justice system.

Look at our “Organizers” page to see how to get involved with an organization. Read the prisoner logs for their input. Check out the “Bills” section for information about legislation in the General Assembly.  We welcome contributions to the blog on issues of prisoner justice, so please explore the site.

2020 Rally

2020

From the Richmond Free Press:

“Several inmate letters were read at the rally, including a letter from Hassan Shabazz, co-founder of the Prisoner of Conscience and Virginia Prison Justice Network, urging people to take action and speak up against inmate inequities.  “We cannot be satisfied with what we perceive as victories where no meaningful change has taken place,” Mr. Shabazz wrote. “On the inside, we must do our part to qualify ourselves for a second chance. And on the outside, we need those who believe in second chances to make that presence felt at the General Assembly.”  Dale Pughsley, also known as Askari Danso and co-founder of the Prisoner of Conscience and Virginia Prison Justice Network, said black communities, mothers, children and economies are left to suffer as a result of incarceration.  “My 22 years of experience as a prisoner in Virginia teaches me that prisons house poor, uneducated blacks, many of whom also have mental illnesses,” Mr. Pughsley wrote. “Most of these men and women are thought of as incapable of contributing to the modern knowledge-based economy in any real way.”  Read the full article here.

2019 Rally

2019

By Phil Wilayto

Braving temperatures just above freezing and dire forecasts of a life-threatening winter storm, more than 200 people rallied Jan. 12 at the Virginia State Capitol to demand justice for the state’s prisoners and changes in its criminal justice system.  It was the second year in a row that the prisoner-led Virginia Prison Justice Network had organized a rally to draw public attention to issues in the state’s prisons and the need for criminal justice reform. With nearly 38,000 state prisoners in 38 facilities, Virginia has the 14th highest rate of incarceration in the country,

While last year’s rally featured representatives from advocacy organizations, this year’s focused on the voices of prisoners themselves, with co-chairs Lynetta Thompson and Joseph Rogers of VAPJN-Richmond reading statements sent in from prisons across the state. Half the statements were from women, who make up the fastest growing segment of the state’s prisoners.

Read more about the rally here.

2018 Rally

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In the largest show of support for Virginia prisoners in memory, more than 300 people turned out for the Virginia Rally for Prison Reform, held Jan. 20, 2018, at Richmond’s Capitol Square. Former prisoners, relatives and friends of prisoners, prison reform advocates and supporters from all parts of the state called for justice in the courts and prison reform. The rally was initiated by the prisoner organization Virginia Prisoner of Conscience (VAPOC).

Read more about the rally here.