“this for the Durham Association of Educators”

Dear g______ ________

I’m doing alright thanks for asking, yes we are doing a creative writing class where we get to express ourselves in different kinds of ways.  Rap, poem, drawings, speeches, & a lot more.  Curtis Barnette [another detainee] started the class & we sign up for it.  We start at 12 or when the multi-purpose room ain’t at use & any action book or drawing book is good & a dictionary, too.  I like making great drawings so I’m like more tattoo drawings.

this for the Durham Association of Educators, & the union of public school teacher: thank you for focusing on our Education.  I’m still enrolled in my base school.  I was 17 when I got here, now I’m 18.  I’m up in here for a couple a months now.  The government should focus on building schools & jobs instead of making money for the jail, b/c this jail system is so crooked.  I’m here with no proof of me committing any crime of what they blaming me for – no weapon found, no evidence of any stolen goods, no witnesses.  I’ve been just waiting for my court dates & they cancel my court date every time its been scheduled.  My lawyer just once he came and see be.  I haven’t been to court at all.  The DAs lying on everything, the court appointed lawyers ain’t helping, to be honest.  Fuck Durham County Jail, they want me to feel down & plead guilty so they can make money off me.  You know what they chose the wrong person, b/c I’m staying strong.  I got into the word of God & he helps me to stay strong & for my family & loved ones who support me they can’t even come to visit me.  I only saw my mom 3 times & now they ain’t allowing her to come.  I’m against the video visitation.  So many young teens like my age die in this cells & they just say they committed suicide or natural cause.  It ain’t true.  The COs allow it to happen & if they ain’t do nothing about it that’s how they move up to new positions.  The canteen be ripping us off of our money, they don’t return our money when we order canteen & they don’t bring our canteen, & they act like they don’t know nothing.  Man shyt crazy.  I can’t even trust the law & I never did & never will.  I speak for all my latinos up in here.  I got a friend here & they don’t let him have any visit.  His family want to see him but they don’t allow him to have any visit, & when they feel they loosing our case they put a deportation order on my people with out having proof of anything.  We get crazy rash on our body b/c of the sope & our clothes are being washed with only water & we get rash from it & we get back pain from the bed they give us.  They treat us like a bunch of animals.  They hold us over years & trying to make us commit suicide & if you don’t have money you can’t get no medical attention or get the medication you need to live.  Shyt crazy man.  They block the phone sometimes so we can’t call anyone.  People are still here fighting o live & some lost their life fighting the system.  Thank you IOA for working on protest to help us students & anyone up in jail.  Thank you and god bless y’all.

 

Sincerely,

ghost z:.

‘Could you imagine driving that far to sit in front of a video screen?’

6/11/17

Hi,

I owe you a response from a letter you wrote to me on March 27. You met my dad outside the jail and he gave you my name and information.

Since I’ve received that letter, a lot has happened. Indeed, unfortunately, we lost Niecey from the women’s pod, and I did not know her personally, but it still put everyone who heard of her death on edge. The tension could be felt in the air, and all of the detention officers were receiving dirty looks from detainees. Even those who were not even working on the night of the situation. Things could have grown dangerous on either side. Thank God, from at least my perspective and in my pod, we had no further issues pertaining to that.  Continue reading

“jail is a perpetuation of slavery”

Hey,

My name is Jemar Beulah Jr. You can put my name in this if you copyright it. But to me jail is a perpetuation of slavery. I say this because the 13th Amendment states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist on these shores except for a person duly convicted of a crime.” But me and a lot of others are not convicted, we’ve been accused or they’re using the hearsay law and it’s BULLSHIT. Let’s say I get mad at you or anybody. I can easily shave my own dog and put the shavings on your porch and call the police and say I watched you kill your dog and you going to jail then, probably. Well, mostly you’re going to prison. It’s that simple now.

Then they got public defenders. How can they bring justice when the people charged with defending us are investing in our incarceration. And there is no lawyer-client confidentiality. The lawyer will give the D.A. hints. If you be real with them, they’ll tell. There’s no beating this shit.

I’m an innocent man in jail. THIS jail has bullshit food. We only come out 6 hours 30 minutes a day. We only get 30 minutes recreation. The shower water breaks you out and dry your skin out. They charge you 20 dollars for a sick call. Canteen high as hell. COs act like they tough all the time. That’s why we locked down. The police will put you in handcuffs and throw you around like a rag doll and when you fucked up they still charge you 20 dollars. Shit crazy up in here.

Ms Parker, Ms Furgoson, Maye, Kobe, Baker, Sgt. Steveson, Elibi — they’re some staff, but these 7 here are some staff that come to work, do their job and go home. They don’t yell at us. They don’t hassle us about little things. They don’t get buck with us or try to get us to buck at them. THEY’RE NICE GENUINE people and I thank them for that.

Oh, I forgot Sgt. Brown, Jerome, Ms. West -> Well, all the STARR staff.

THANKS FOR HEARING ME.

Tears of an Inmate–2

Damn

What should I say

Other than I’m tired

Of being locked down

Every single day

I’m losing my mind

Cuz I’m running out of strategies

On how

To pull this time

Thought kidnapping

Was a crime

Shit, apparently not

Cuz the government get away with

The shit all the time

This shit crazy as hell

To this fucked up system

You call a government

I hope you

Burn in hell

What happened to

Treating us with dignity

Now you’re sheltering us

From our visits

With our families

Face to face

Are you kidding me

You don’t know

What it’s like

To be us

Locked down

In a pit

Looked over by

A bunch of assholes

We can’t trust for shit

The thought of this

Is killing me

I could go on

All day

Long story short

The system

Is an inmate’s

Worst enemy

I want to say this

Before I finish

What does it mean to be

Innocent until proven guilty?

-Ghost

‘Sometimes you got to take a stand to make a point’

Hello —

Just give me some damn hot water!

I’m just writing to say thanks for your support. I’ve been here 4 years and I’ve watched the drastic changes and impact you and IOA have had on the jail. Where we won’t be heard as inmates, you all at IOA are definitely our voice of reason that won’t be denied. I had to base on officer Coleman punk ass (excuse my language) the other night. So the cell I’ve been put in, the hot water button don’t work (not that if it did any would come out, anyway), so I have to resort to asking the night-time officer to let me out so I can get some hot water out of the janitor/mop closet just to cook my food. So, this particular night, officer Coleman of the 3rd floor was working. We’ve had problems in the past, so I assumed an altercation was inevitable. Continue reading

‘They got a lie for every question people throw at them’

6-5-17

IOA–

What’s up IOA, thanks for writing. Ain’t nothing changed around here, it only gets worse. I do want to point out that the jail claims that they’re not going to do away with our face-to-face visits, that they added the video visits to give us more time with our family, in other words it’s pose to be a win-win for us. Damn shame! They got a lie for every question people throw at them. If it was all about us getting more visits with our family, then why not give us face to face visits all throughout the week instead of spending money on all this new equipment? Continue reading

CHECK THE MIRROR

L.O.D. has to be a vehicle of advancement.  It must be understood by all members and soldiers in this struggle that in and of itself ignorance is our greatest enemy.  Through ignorance we are made afraid.  Through ignorance we’re impoverished.  Through ignorance we remain unskilled and unmotivated in the working world and repeatedly fall victim to the many pitfalls that ignorance provides for us.  By designs drawn up and set in motion many years ago we’ve been trained to be so ignorant that we don’t even recognize our enemy.  In ignorance we blindly follow fads, trends, and the whimsical ideals of people just as uneducated, ignorant, and afraid as we are.  To stand FOR something is to stand AGAINST something.  Many have lived and died having never come to this realization.  What is it that you stand for?  What do you love that loves you in return?  Life or death?  Living in fucked up environments of racism destroying everything against the heart.

That is what L.O.D. represents.  The struggle.  The fight.  The stand against systems of ignorance, for the advancement of that which we hold dear to our hearts.  How long will you be a faker in your own skin?  Afraid to BE cause they say you can’t BE.  Afraid to do cause they say you can’t do.

A L.O.D. soldier is unafraid of the fears that ignorance provides.  A L.O.D. soldier’s greatest weapon is education.  “Know how.”  Plain and simple.  Once you know better you should show better.  If we knew better we’d do better.  In this technological age and time where the answers are provided at a button’s touch who can keep you from knowing something?  As an L.O.D. soldier you have accepted the responsibility for not only your own personal advancement, but also for that of your brothers and sisters in the struggle because the best way to get ahead in life is to help someone do the same.  The only way to break the cycle of this crabs in a bucket syndrome we’re stuck knee deep in is to stop being the crab.  Period.  L.O.D. is not a gang and will not adopt the so called principles of such.  What it is, however, is an alliance of like-minded individuals who’ve recognized the perilous situation we’ve had thrust upon us and hunger to be active in making a difference.  L.O.D. recognizes that the Enemy (this governmental machine) does not discriminate and neither shall we.  Any race, creed, color, or sexual orientation will and shall be accepted with open arms.  L.O.D. is a movement that begs the question: is this life or is this Death?  Where a person is born into a design of debt, poverty, incarceration, and death by age 30.

In today’s America there are two species of human being: non-felons and felons.  Felons, have become the new slave, alien, outcast, reject, undesirable, etc.  The promotion of ignorance in today’s society is at an all time high and it is this very ignorance that justifies the oppressive abuses we suffer at the hands of the law.

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as punishment for a crime.  Look it up.  We claim to be adults, but we’re afraid to speak up and speak out against the ignorance in our own neighborhoods that steals our children from us.  That same ignorance that claims our children is the very same ignorance that fuels the fears and frustrations of these quick trigger cops who kill seemingly in cold blood.

Living
In
Fucked up
Environments

Of
Racism

Destroying
Everything
Against
The
Heart

I salute the men and women of I.O.A. and thank you from the core of my heart for your courage and dedication to a selfless cause.  I’d been meaning to raech out to you guys for some time now.

As for your concerns about the complaints with this jail???…

My only complaint would be the lack of educational opportunities for the long term detainees.  I’ve made several requests myself to have some character education/ethics and choices work books sent in so that I can start a class but…instead, as you can see on the back side of page one, I’ve started a creative writing class and had a helluva turnout!  Months back I’d started a mens group in 4-D but I failed the young bros up there by letting my anger and frustration get the best of me.  In life – especially behind bars – people will treat you the way you present yourself.  I cannot echo the complaints you hear in every letter because hey…this is jail.  This building has saved many people from themselves, so as novel the thought of total abolishment of jail is, it would truly do more harm than good.  In a perfect world these prisons and jails wouldn’t be necessary.  Having spent 21 1/2 years day for day with no breaks in between in prison, I can honestly say it (prison) is needed.  I have met many a man who have lost all desire to change…if they ever possessed it to begin with.  Sad, but too true.  My Lord and Savior had different plans for me and so he filled me with the will to endure and to never give up.  He filled me with compassion and the desire to help mend this broken picture of society.  To let my own life and experiences be an example to our youth of not only what not do, but also of how to turn your life around for the better.

Man, I love it.  Inspiring substantial thought in people.

You have my permission to print this letter in its entirety and to use my full name.  I stand on every word I’ve written and fear no reprisal from staff.  I can honestly say that the vast majority of the staff I’ve encountered here are genuinely good people just doing their jobs to pay the bills.

In closing I’d like to ask you guys at IOA to see about sending me some materials (workbooks, etc.) to aid me in my task of creating a change.  Like I said earlier, ethics and choices, character education, anger management, stress management…anything that will bring something new and worthwhile to the boxes that these brothers and sister are unable to think outside of.  Help me help our society.

I am L.O.D.

Sincerely fearless and able,

Curtis Barnette

God bless y’all and I love you all.