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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Red Onion State Prison: Where Inmates Enjoy the 'Luxury' of Broken Toilets and Unjust Hearings

Written by: Sam Orlando

Roanoke, Virginia — Ah, the palatial chambers of Red Onion State Prison, the Virginia supermax facility where inmates seem to have the run of the place — if by "run," we mean being left for days with malfunctioning toilets filled with human waste. A fresh lawsuit — one of seemingly countless ones targeting the facility — adds another layer of paint to this grim portrait.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, the civil rights case presents allegations of what can easily be described as horrifying breaches of human rights. Javon Lamont Arrington, the plaintiff, alleges that prison guards left him for three days in March 2023 with a broken toilet, an aromatic blend of human waste wafting through his cell. But hey, who needs potpourri when you have such olfactory delights?

According to the suit, this led Arrington to vomit and subjected him to "mentally forceful torture by harsh conditions." And this wasn't the only luxurious experience Red Onion had to offer. The case also accuses Hearing Officer J.R. Adams of deliberately denying Arrington's due process. While ordinary citizens must endure the tedious process of going to court with prepared defenses, Arrington alleges he was generously saved that hassle. Instead, he was found guilty of all charges in 2023 by the officer who charged him, never receiving the proper forms to prepare a defense.

As a result, Arrington claims to have lost "an excessive amount of phone privilege and money," which in turn inhibited his ability to communicate with family for legal matters. Well, who needs phone calls home when you have such friendly guards to chat with?

Arrington is seeking a $100,000 in damages and a temporary restraining order against the defendants, but let's not overlook the most significant request — a trial by jury. This is indeed an uphill battle for Arrington, considering that most inmate civil rights cases hardly catch the public eye. However, if these allegations prove true, one might question the "max" in "supermax" — as in, to the maximum extent, how much more horrifying can these conditions get?

The lawsuit adds to the steady drumbeat of legal actions against Red Onion, a facility so popular for lawsuits it might as well have its own courtroom. Will Arrington's case finally be the one to break the chain of what seems to be habitual mistreatment? Only time will tell. For now, the court of public opinion is open for session, and the Red Onion facility is yet again the defendant.

For those interested in the gritty details, the case number is 7:23-cv-00603. And for those who wonder if such stories will ever end, join the club. Stay tuned to Breaking Through News for updates on this litigation.


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