Podcast

Episode 28: Interfaith Action for Human Rights: Gay Gardner Interview

Randy introduces an interview with Gay Gardner from IAHR -- Interfaith Action for Human Rights -- a Washington DC-based organisation that advocates and educates to minimise the use of solitary confinement and other unnecessarily harsh practices.
https://www.interfaithactionhr.org
When Randy faced a major health challenge, Gay helped get him treated. But even while undergoing medical assessment Randy found himself subjected to more harsh and unnecessary punishment.

Other Episodes

Episode 27: Christmas Holiday (Not) Special

Randy reflects on Christmases, past and present in prison. When he was a child he never really had a chance to celebrate much, and now he chooses not. Just like Thanksgiving and birthdays, Christmas is just another day. But there was one magical Christmas, Randy remembers from his childhood. He was seven years old and he and his brothers received a special present -- a Dr Pepper bike.


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Episode 26: Randy Answers Your Questions

Randy answers your questions about his responsibility for the crimes he committed; his favorite film and TV shows; his relationships with the prison warden. He also describes an incident in which he flooded his cell - and the rest of the tier - as a protest. Randy is always happy to answer any questions you have.


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Episode 25: Working for the Man

What kinds of jobs are open for inmates in Red Onion? What's the rate of pay? And what's the absolute worst job in prison? Find out the answers from Red Onion Randy, the man who's worked them all.


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Episode 24: Gimme the chicken tray! (Hilarious)

Randy tells a story of a showdown between Headbuster, a 6'2" gangbanger, and the rookie CO serving dinner trays on the tier. The ensuing standoff is resolved in the most unusual way. As Randy says, it's one of the funniest he's ever seen in prison. The episode features the hip hop music of Dutch Nelsar.


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Episode 23: Damn Nightmare

Twenty-two years into his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Randy feels the walls of his cell closing in around him, his resilience at breaking point, his sense of hope fading. In this powerful confession of mental torment, Randy's spirit finally shines through -- he cannot give up, he will not -- but he sure comes close as he faces a situation that is truly... a damn nightmare.


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Episode 22: Red Onion Lullaby

Randy describes the many difficulties that Red Onion inmates face in getting a good night's sleep. A mix of noise, excessive light, physical discomfort, and anxiety all conspire to make night at ROSP an uncomfortable and lonely time. At the end of the episode Randy introduces a haunting melody composed by pianist Jooyeon Park -- the Red Onion Lullaby.


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Episode 21: Anger, Boredom and Fantasy

Randy describes the mind-numbing boredom of life in solitary and how this once led him to a corrosive, all-consuming anger with fantasies of homicidal vengeance.. Randy saved himself through the power of imagination and the refuge of fantasy fiction. The episode begins with a short description of Kapoor, the fantasy planet the size of 36 Jupiters filled excitement and color, invented by Randy as his personal antidote to boredom and loneliness.


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Episode 20: Groundhog Day

In response to listeners' requests, Randy describes his cell and goes on to detail a typical day in his life, most of which is spent in a cell that's smaller than an average car parking space.


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Episode 19: The Child Molester

In 2006, Randy was sent to Sussex 1 State Prison outside Richmond Virginia, where the state holds its death row prisoners. Deeply unhappy in his new home, Randy slashed the throat of another inmate -- a child molester -- as a result of which he was sent to Red Onion and solitary confinement. The episode contains descriptions of extreme violence. Listener discretion is advised.


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Episode 18: True Blood

Randy talks about his work “slinging ink” -- the art of tattooing -- a practice that can form strong and enduring bonds between inmates.
To see examples of tattoo flashes from Red Onion, check out our Shop Page


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Episode 17: Solitary - Final Years Part 2

Randy describes Red Onion’s SAM (Secure Allied Management)– and SIP (Secure Integrated Pod), two high security accommodation programs that prepare prisoners for gradual integration into general population.


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Episode 16: Solitary - Final Years Part 1

In the first of this two-part story of his journey from solitary back to Red Onion’s general population, Randy describes the painful process of looking at himself in the mirror, and acknowledging his anger, violence, and disregard for life. Over a number of years, he was able to commit to and achieve change in himself, a challenge that was supported by the prison’s “step down” program and his appearance in the 2016 HBO documentary “Solitary: Inside Red Onion”.


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Episode 15: Dont Shake the Spoon

Randy answers listener David's question about food in supermax, recalling the time when discontent about the quality and quantity of food led to a group protest.


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Episode 14: I Ain’t Heard from You in a While...

In this episode, Randy answers listeners’ questions. Paula wants to how other prisoners and corrections officers have reacted to the podcast. Dianna asks Randy about pen pal programs. He offers insider advice about the benefits and risks of corresponding with prisoners.


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Episode 13: Q&A: The Thing That Kept Me From Going Insane

Randy answers listeners’ questions about the prison’s step down program and the psychological impact of solitary confinement.


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Episode 12: From Solitary to Gen Pop and Back Again

After spending five years in administrative segregation -- solitary confinement -- Randy successfully completes Red Onion’s “step down” program, earning the right to move into the prison’s “general population” After a few months, however, despite following all rules and regulations, Randy is returned to solitary, where he’ll spend the next 13 years, until his release to general population at the end of 2019.


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Episode 11: A Walk in the Woods

In his years in solitary confinement, Randy developed an extraordinary power – the ability to travel in time and space through the power of imagination. As he says, he may be in prison, but he’s not a prisoner. In this episode Randy is our guide on an imaginary walk in the woods near his boyhood home in Earlysville, Virginia. Wherever you are and however you’re feeling right now, let Randy take you to a secret place of tranquillity and hope.


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Episode 10: The Choice We Make

Randy recalls his discovery of the Wheel of Time series by fantasy fiction writer Robert Jordan and the life-changing epiphany he experienced while reading them.


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Episode 09: Covid-19 comes to Red Onion

Randy reports that inmates working in the kitchen have tested positive for Covid-19. For the moment, the outbreak appears to be under control. Since a new kitchen manager was appointed two months ago the quality and quantity of food has improved significantly.


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Episode 08: Basically a Torture Chamber

After slashing the throat of another inmate in the rec yard at Sussex 1 State Prison Randy is sent to Red Onion State Prison, where he is kept in solitary confinement, also known as administrative segregation. In this powerful account of life in “seg”, Randy describes the devastating mental health impact of intense loneliness, hopelessness, and boredom, where 23 hours of every day is spent in a cell the size of a single car parking space, the light is never turned off, and constant noise assaults the ears.


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Episode 07: Strike First

Content Warning: This episode contains descriptions of sexual assault and extreme physical violence. When gang leader LA threatens to rape Randy, Randy reacts by slashing LA’s throat on the rec yard.


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Episode 06: No Gettin’ Punked Once

After being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the twenty-year-old Randy is sent to Buckingham Correctional Center, a state prison between Richmond and Lynchburg, Virginia. In this ruthless new world, any sign of weakness will be exploited by other inmates.


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Episode 05: The Scary Thing

In jail awaiting trial, Randy has a fistfight with a correctional officer. It ends when a second officer, “The Undertaker”, intervenes. After being convicted of murder and armed robbery, Randy faces either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The jury announces its decision on his 20th birthday.


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Episode 04: That Evil Black Cloud

Unemployed, hopeless and adrift, Randall embarks on another crime spree. This time burglary and car theft ends in armed robbery and murder.


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Episode 03: My Teenage Years

Randy describes truanting from high school, his drift into crime, and a first encounter with the Virginia Department of Corrections at the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center. He reflects on how the juvenile justice system only reinforced his criminal behaviours, culminating in a crime spree that ended with him committing capital murder.


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Episode 02: Childhood

Randy describes his dirt poor childhood in Earlysville, Virginia, living in a trailer with his mother, two brothers and an abusive father who subjected him to frequent, violent beatings. After his parents separated, Randy found himself in foster care, embittered and angry, with a hair-trigger temper. Soon he started committing petty crimes.


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Episode 01: Loneliness and Friendship

In this episode Randy introduces his buddy Frank, and describes the importance of friendship in facing the soul-crushing loneliness of prison.

Documentary mentioned by Randy in the podcast-
Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison


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Trailer: Welcome to my podcast

Welcome to my podcast. This one is a glimpse of what you can expect in the coming episodes. Hope you enjoy it.
-Randy


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Send Randy your questions: Ask Randy