Wallens Ridge Prison Faces Accusations of Allowing Inmate Attack, Then Punishing the Victim
Written by: Sam Orlando
Big Stone Gap, VA – A federal lawsuit filed under the Civil Rights Act 42 U.S.C. § 1983 has been lodged against several staff members of Wallens Ridge State Prison in Virginia, detailing serious allegations of negligence and deliberate indifference to an inmate's medical and safety needs.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Randy Lee Lassiter Jr., claims that on August 3, 2008, he informed Officer Blevins, LT. Coleman, and Unit Manager Boyd about threats he had received from gang members within his pod, suggesting they labeled him as a "SNITCH". Despite his alerts, he alleges that the prison staff did not take action to move him out of the potentially hazardous environment.
Lassiter's complaint further alleges that after being assaulted and attacked by these gang members, he communicated his injuries and distress to several prison staff, including Officer Blevins, Pill Call Nurse, and Officer McCracken. However, they reportedly showed "deliberate indifference" to his medical emergencies, which include being choked, pain in various parts of his body, and asthmatic problems.
The lawsuit further claims that Lassiter, who possesses a medical approval for a bottom rack due to health concerns, fell from the top rack after the assault. When he informed Nurse Scalf about chest pains he was experiencing, she allegedly responded with "What am I supposed to do", thus supposedly violating the 8th Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
The complaint emphasizes that the entire incident was captured on surveillance, providing potential evidence to substantiate Lassiter's claims.
Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Officer Young of retaliation, alleging that he disclosed a written complaint to the gang members who had previously attacked Lassiter.
Seeking redress for his grievances, Lassiter is pursuing monetary damages amounting to $10,000,000. He also requests injunctive relief, specifically a transfer, a hearing, legal representation, and incarceration in a mental institution rather than the Department of Corrections.
While the lawsuit sheds light on concerning alleged behavior within Wallens Ridge State Prison, it remains to be seen how the legal proceedings will unfold and what evidence will be presented in court.