IOA Disbands, but the Fight for a World Without Cops, Cages, or Criminalization Continues!

After over six years of organizing as Inside-Outside Alliance (IOA), we are bringing this group to a close. Inspired by a rich history of abolitionist organizing, IOA fought to end the practice of jailing Durham residents. We fought to build a Durham in which the caging of our neighbors would be unthinkable. We fought to expose the jail for what it is: a racist, capitalist system that warehouses—sometimes to the point of death—Black and Brown people, poor people, political dissidents, immigrants, and people experiencing mental health crises. While our dream of a Durham without police, jails, or criminalization has not yet come to fruition, we believe IOA, along with many other kindred collectives throughout the city, planted seeds of abolition through our work. Whether or not those seeds germinate is up to us.

Unfortunately, we believe that we can no longer effectively uphold IOA’s mission (as described on our website: Our capacities to organize this group have greatly declined over the past year for various reasons, including some of our members becoming new parents, some moving away, and all having to grapple with the repercussions of a member who committed sexual assault. Rather than allow IOA to become a ghost of its former self, we have decided to end it and to redirect our energies into other groups that will try to realize its principles in different ways.

In our years of organizing, IOA has accomplished a lot. We have amplified the voices of incarcerated folks at the Durham County Jail by publishing 43 issues of the Feedback newsletter, which were composed of letters, drawings, poetry, and petitions from incarcerated people as well as news from outside. We mailed dozens of copies of each of these issues to people locked up in the jail, to support their efforts to read each other’s work, communicate with each other, and inspire each other. We shared copies of these newsletters with people on the outside both in person and through our website. We also made many dozens of shorter newsletters that we handed out to visitors at the jail.

In response to the requests of incarcerated people, we campaigned for:

  1. Ending the “lock-back” situation of holding prisoners in their cells for 24-48 hours at a time (see statement here: “What we believe. What we want.”),
  2. Allowing Mexican consular IDs to be accepted for visitation,
  3. Ending deaths in the jail (see our compilation of writings, “No more jail deaths, No more jail”),
  4. Preventing the medical neglect that led to many of these deaths by making the jail shift from a for-profit health care provider to a public health care provider (see our “Kick out CCS!” infosheet),
  5. Highlighting the exploitative, forced character of inmate labor (see “On the Work Pod”),
  6. Improving the food provided to inmates,
  7. Maintaining the rights of inmates’ friends and family to visit them in person rather than only via video visitation (see our petition to stop video visitation).

We amplified these demands with at least one hundred protests outside of the jail, at the County Commissioners’ meetings, and in the streets. Although we did not come close to realizing all of these demands, we did help win some important reforms, including forcing the jail to accept Mexican consular IDs for visitors, ending the lockback, making the jail shift their food service corporation from Aramark to ABL, and keeping some in-person visitation rights. Further, although we never had an explicit goal of making electoral changes, partly as a result of our raising public awareness about problems with the jail, the old sheriff lost an election to a new sheriff who took up some of our demands as part of his campaign.

Now, however, we are moving on from IOA and redirecting our capacities and energies into other groups—such as NC Women’s Prison Book Project—that seek to continue organizing in solidarity with our incarcerated comrades and their loved ones.

Please note that our newsletters and communication with incarcerated people will be archived at If anyone has questions about IOA after our disbanding, feel free to contact  

With love and rage, we continue fighting in memory of the people who died in the jail. Rest in Power: Jean Carolyn McGirt, Dashawn Evans, James Earl Staton Jr., Niecey Fennell, Dennis McMurray, Matthew McCain, Raphael Bennett, Terry Lee, John Umstead, and all those whose lives have been extinguished by the carceral state, here and everywhere. For a world without cops, cages, or criminalization!

– Organizers of the former Inside-Outside Alliance

Durham County Jail is the most dangerous place in Durham by far

Note:  On January 18, 2019, James G. Jones was assaulted by Officer Montanez. The following is his statement on that assault and on Durham County Jail as a whole.

Dear reader,

How can criminals detain pretrial inmates awaiting trial?

Welcome to Durham County Jail, where integrity is not found, security has no place to reside, disciple and rights do not exist.

When lack of good character is clearly visible, you will see other bad decisions surface. Because you can give immunity to officers from others, but you cannot grant officers immunity from themselves.

Durham County Jail is the most dangerous place in Durham by far. The culture is not good for anyone to be detained in. I respectfully my funding to be housed here stopped effective immediately, because as a funded client of this facility, no detainee should be mobbed as we are by staff. Cpt. McKinney and Cpt. Russell do not reprimand Lt. Black and crew for their harum scarum behavior towards detainees. In fact, they (Cpt.) support the forging of documents, contaminating evidence, breaking chain of command, and committing other crimes to get a desired result. The High Sheriff has adopted these practices as well. I have yet to see a policy, procedure, or protocol followed, or training, education, and experiences reflected, or the NC requirement for certification. Both written and physical practiced. There is no code of conduct for staff and if you speak out, you will be punished physically whether you are right or wrong.

My 14th Amendment rights to due process are being violated as I write this publication. I have filed several grievances in reference to my 1/18/19 assault by Officer Montanez, who I believe was sent to the academy, in which, I grieve in advance for the family who will grieve behind Montanez’s untreated anger. This kid hit me with two Gs of force which it was not needed. Now the high sheriff has put a gun in this kid’s hands. These bad decisions, harum scarum behavior and violent acts cannot continue to be funded by local, state, and federal governments when it’s clear (foreseeable) that Durham County Detention Facility is in violation of local, state, and federal guidelines. My grievances have not been answered to this date. Per Lt. Black, they are waiting to hear from my attorney, in which, I do not have. My disciplinary process suffered significant procedural errors because I never received a copy of my 24 hours notice of infractions (which is forged) or my written statement describing reason for action taken, which adversely affected my right to file an appeal in a timely manner. I received written statement 6 days after my 30 day segregation time was up. Per Sgt. Holsonback, there is no time limit to respond. Major of Security has not addressed my appeal to this date.

Therefore, if I am a citizen of the United States, and I reside in Durham NC, and if I have no rights, who has jurisdiction over me?

Now, if I have rights in both jurisdictions, United States and North Carolina, and if these rights are protected as prescribed by both constitutions, then, someone must thoroughly investigate these matters by freezing funds until investigation is complete and all parties removed per violation of city, county, local, state, and federal guidelines.

In closing, I thank all readers for their time and joint efforts in stopping Durham Detention officers, as well as Officer Montanez from becoming a sheriff and hurting detained pretrial inmates awaiting trial and citizens of Durham County.

I, James G. Jones, further declare under the penalty of perjury that this statement is true and accurate to the best of of my knowledge and ability to convey. Cory Smith #8, Mr. Hart #10, #15, and Saguan Dunn #22 all were involved incidents with officers.

She knowingly and willingly closed the door on me, causing harm to my body.

Note:  In mid-March, we received two letters from an inmate who had been abused by jail officers at the end of February, one written on 2/24 and the other on 2/28.  The statements in these letters follow below.  The grievances outlined in these letters remain outstanding.

I’m currently an inmate at the Durham County Detention Center (Jail) in Durham, North Carolina. At the time of this letter, I am housed on the third floor in a pod under the name 3-A North where I’m currently awaiting to be reclassed.

On 02-24-19, around 11:50 am & 12:30 pm, I was called from my cell (20) to come downstairs for my pain medication. While talking to the nurse, Officer Cole, whom is known throughout the jail as deceitful and dirty to other inmates, walked off from the nurse and I as we were talking and waited at the main entrance which was about 15 yards from where we were talking. As I was standing in the door, Officer Braswell closed the electric sliding door without warning causing injury to my left foot and toe.

I requested to be seen by medical once the pain became too much to bear and my foot started to swell. Officer Brown told me I gotta wait until Officer/Deputy Cole looked at the video. Officer Brown then told me I was just causing trouble for myself because they all stick together around here and I should know that by now.

Eventually, I was taken to medical maybe 30-35 minutes later, where I was treated. After being seen by medical and given an ice-pack for the swelling, I returned from medical escorted by Sgt. Page. Upon coming off of the elevator, Officer/Dep. Cole was standing in the adjacent hall leading to my dorm/Pod and Lt. Harris-Moore was walking from the other end where dorms 3-D and 3-C is located.

I stopped and asked Officer/Dep. Cole why he didn’t help me at the time of the injury, only to be told that he didn’t care and it was funny to him.

I then walked off towards my unit only to be met by Officers Brown and Sharpe, before coming off the hall. I asked why they looking so hostile and I was told that they’re just following orders.

Before entering my dorm, I was stopped by Sgt. Page, and asked to sign something stating I was seen by medical. Sgt. Page handed me a pen but held the paper. When I asked her to allow me to read what I was signing, she snatched the paper down and yelled at me. So I placed the pen on the windowsill so that they wouldn’t have reason to say I was deemed a threat. Officer Page then snatched the pen from the window once I refused to sign what I couldn’t read, which is a violation of my rights. She then wrote that I refused.

For no reason justifiable, Officers Page, Brown, and Sharpe decided they would walk me to my cell upstairs and entered my cell before I could get there and began taking things out of my cell and kicking books I had under my bed in an attempt to get me to act out. I had these things yesterday and Friday night, which Officers Sharpe and Brown were aware of. Because Officer Sharpe kicked my books, I asked to speak with a Lt. Or Capt. just as Lt. Harris-Moore walked in. I have a standing complaint against an Officer Mayes about her damaging my property during a search, which she is taking her time about for the last 5 months now.

But I tried to explain myself anyway in hopes something will be done. She saw that Officers Sharpe, Brown, and Sgt. Page was antagonizing me and asked them to step outside the cell. I then explained what happened and how I was being set up to look as if I was in the wrong. She then told me that’s how it goes and I have no rights in jail, before walking out saying over her should how “I got it fucked up if I think she’s gonna go against her officers.”

So knowing that they are wrong, they are charging me with (1) “Being in an unauthorized area” after being called to that area for medication, (2) “Insolence towards an officer”, and (3) “Disobeying a direct order”, of which is another lie because if this took place the way they are telling it, a code would’ve been called on the radio in regards to it. In fact, Officer Brown and I passed each other after I was finally told to go back inside and to my cell, despite the fact of me trying to see the nurse for my new injury.

The lies they came together and charged me with is turning it from an accident to an excessive force issue. Because if she told me to move and I didn’t, she knowingly and willingly closed the door on me, causing harm to my body.

I’m absolutely sure that everything that took place is on camera and they are also aware of that fact, which is why these officers came together to conjure a story to save another officer.

This is my statement of the events that took place in the Durham County Detention Center in 3-A North, on 2-24-19.


As of this morning of 2-28-19, I was visited by disciplinary officer Horton, whom informed me that all charges of infractions brought against me has been dismissed based on further review of the video that captured the incident which took place on 2-24-19.

Despite my asking for a copy of the incident report as well as a copy of the statement given by officer Braswell to validate the infractions against me, I was continuously told that I can’t and won’t receive one.

Based on officer Braswell’s statement, detention Sergeant M. Jones charged me with the following A-1, A-2, A-5, and B-4, which are very serious charges in light of what truly took place.

Disciplinary officer Horton also failed to give me my copy of the disposition which I am still attempting to receive.

Memo from NC Central Prison

Note: A prisoner sent this memo to us, letting us know that DPS is restricting who can send money to prisoners to only approved visitors on that prisoner’s list. Again, prisons use fake concern about prisoners and drugs to make life worse for so many prisoners.


Notice to Offender Population

January 2, 2019

Restriction of Depositors

Prisons is constantly exploring methods to improve safety, security and overall operations, this includes ensuring that all offenders have an opportunity to reside within our facilities without fear of strong arming and/or undue influence to commit an illicit act for monetary gain. As a result, effective February 5, 2019, Prisons will restrict depositors into trust fund accounts to only those listed as approved visitors, for the respective offender. Funds deposited will continue to be processed by JPAY. However, if funds are received from a non-approved visitor the action will be rejected by the vendor.

Offenders are encouraged to share this information with family and friends. This information will also be posted on the NCDPS and JPAY websites.


Kenneth E. Lassiter

Director of Prisons

Treatment of Muslim detainees

It is very disturbing and aggravating to know and see that they honor all ways and acts of Christianity, Bring in people to hold bible study, have an abundance of bibles. But, yet Islam is barely noticed. They honor Ramadhan, but that is it. They don’t let us get Islamic materials, prayer rugs, no Imam, nor are they open to giving us one. The sergeants even go so far as complaining when we use our blankets as prayer rugs. Also they don’t hold Jummah Friday.

Also I mean not to offend anybody or their religion, I’m taught that every man has the right to worship according to their Consciousness. They are violating our constitutional right. I feel that this is unjust and not fair.

We should be able to have these things afforded to us. If you believe that every man has a right to worship as he pleases, which I’m sure you do cause if not you wouldn’t be able to worship as you do, then you should stand up and support this cause.


This is what you make me feel

you motivate me, make me smile from ear to ear

I haven’t felt this feeling in a while

Girl don’t you know it feels good to smile

Motivation on top of anticipating

hearing your voice or receiving your mail

Freedom is what you give me

Even though physically I’m in this jail

My mind is set free, free to roam

You’re my motivation to this poem

you got me in my feelings but,

as I know this is only the beginning

you’ve gave me another reason to live

I am now living. My Motivation…

There are a lot of things wrong with this jail

I’m writing back to tell you there are a lot of things wrong with this jail.  If only I could videotape and document some of the things wrong here. To name a few:

  • Kids in daycare get fed better than us.
  • Trays we eat on have a very bad smell at times.
  • Milk and fruit be spoiled sometimes.
  • Grits and beans are on most of the trays.
  • Guards (just certain ones) power trip to provoke inmates.
  • They took us back for reasons unknown, no explanation.
  • Some inmates get money taken from their account for medical and they went two or more weeks ago.
  • Meds that are supposed to be delivered never make it.
  • They don’t seem to care about the health because it’s hard to get antibiotic or pain pills, only over the counter meds.
  • I had surgery and doctor prescribed meds; didn’t get.
  • Nurse here prescribed things I didn’t receive.
  • People and me have tooth problems that don’t get taken care of.
  • Lawyers don’t come to get clients.
  • People have been incarcerated as long as 5 years here and still haven’t finished their case (redundant).
  • Whole housing unit, rooms included, need to be disinfected.
  • They house us with known psychotics and underage inmates.
  • Guards seem to have authority to lock people in their room for days 23:1 lockdown.
  • No maintenance on weekend.
  • Toilet overflowing and fetus was on floor for entire weekend.
  • Cancelled VI September 23.
  • They had electronic problem same weekend.
  • Not to mention deaths nobody knows what happened.

Who governs the ones governing us?  We can get treated, however, and that isn’t a crime.  God sees what is happening and his will gonna be done.

I’m tired and some time feel like my life is over and like I’ve lost everything

I’m fine and I’m in good health. It’s just crazy what I’m going through and I’ve done nothing wrong, I’m 18 turning 19 on the 9th (August 9) , the father of a one year old lil girl and she’s all I think about. Now S—, I’ve come from a household where there’s struggle, but we as a family work hard together.

I used to play football in middle school, but I dropped out of school in the eighth grade & got caught up in the streets. I started gang banging and got shot. But through the time wasted, I’ve started a change in life. I stopped banging & decided to do right, I’ve started being a better father to my daughter, I’ve started learning how to tattoo, that’s what I wanted to do. Started staying the house, couldn’t nobody get me out the house, even my probation officer. His name was Melvin Roach. I was doing good, haven’t done no drug for a year going on two years.

Now The Crazy Moment of My Life ever…

One night I was chilling with some friends that was headed down the wrong path. We ended up at a big house one night where two friends was bout to do some wrong & I stopped them and told them I want them do nothing stupid we left. You got me?

The Next day or Two

Them same friends came to my house one night with an extra two people. One stayed at my house as the others left. So me and that one other sat on my porch as we wait to see where they went. As they pulled back up, they jumped out the car and the car kept driving, one with a gunshot wound to the back, the other with a gunshot wound to the arm, & the other friend just now he left. I called and got the one with the wound to the back help.

A few weeks later, I get a call saying my name had been brought up in a murder.

Now I’m charged with first degree murder and innocent. I’ve done nothing at all. My whole family hurt knowing I’m in Durham County Jail fighting for my life & they know I was home and ain’t done nothing.

But the one that come back with the others that I said came back with nothing wrong still out living life, while I’m in his shoes. It’s not right.

The food in here is not healthy. They feed you like a dog, they charge $20 for aspirin or ibuprofen, we locked in a cell for 17 hours a day and get treated like shit.

I’m tired

And some time feel like my life is over

And like I’ve lost everything.

I want and need my innocence proved. I’m going through Hell! 😦

No, things are not that well

Hey how are you doing? I thank you for you imagination, but no things are not that well. I’m a young 23 year old Muslim. I’ve tried to reach out to my family and they have shunned me. Honestly, I just desperately want a female pen-pal to correspond with. Somebody that’s willing to be a part of my support system that I can get close to. I’m locked up for an “armed robbery” to which I had no weapon, the store clerk just juiced up the story.

I’m very talented and I love writing poetry. I will submit some of my work in this letter. I’ve had a bit of a rough life My side of the family that stays in NC I barely even know. I have a grandmother that’s 90 years of age. My plans consist of trying to obtain my GED and I want to go to community college for landscaping. My other talents consist of drawing and writing music based on my feelings and what I’m going through.

I’m a bright young man. I want to say that what y’all are doing is very positive and helpful to those who have nobody in their corner. What I need in my corner is a lady friend. One who I can get to know and release my thoughts to. My birthday is November 9th. I love cooking, listening to all music, drawing, talking, and working with my hands. I liked what D— wrote in her letter. I wonder how many responses do y’all actually get.

This time, I am using my time wisely and I’m reading a lot more books. Not enough young African Americans know about their ancestral history. They know not where they came from. They are brainwashed and blind to a lot of things. We constantly are fighting our brother instead of building a bond with them. Why do so many of us only care about self?

In what ways do IOA shoot to help us inmates? Are ya’ll actually making any progress? I can use some help with literature on African American history. Any book on that subject, no matter who the author is. I want to expand my mind and horizon. Positive thinking is all I’ve been doing. My main goal is not to fall backwards again. The FEDS are taking custody of my case. Would you still write me? People don’t know how it feels not to have anybody. To see every person around them get love and mail, but never hear their name be called. I’m one of them and I can say it felt damn good to hear my name called even if it was IOA. At least I can say that IOA cares.

What’s going on with me right now? Well, it’s not just me it is multiple of us, and by us, I mean 5 inmates in the jail are on admin seq. We only get to come out our cell one hour and 30 minutes a day. We are not housed here because we have a bad rep. but simply because that’s how we were classified. We’ve actually had some good CO’s such as Nelson and Goldston who gave us extra time and they’ve moved these officers from our unit. To add, they’ve even got in trouble. Now that’s just outrageous. We are some of the best behaved inmates in the jail, not to mention, we even help clean up the unit and empty cells at night. Tell me, does that sound like we’re being treated right? They’re even going as far as sending the extra trays we used to get back to the kitchen. As far as CCS, I feel that they are wrong charging us $20.00 for us needing medical attention. If we fill out a sick call they charge us $20.00. Now come on, how do that sound?  Hope ya’ll have some more positive feedback.


-Isaiah Bethea #B72578