Children are the real victims. I was planning my death at Durham County Jail.

[The writer of this letter wishes to remain anonymous.]

I was recently locked up for a crime I may have committed during a PTSD flashback. I had a seizure in my room. I pressed the emergency call button several times and the officer didn’t care to check on me. I was vomiting on myself and everything. Finally, they popped my door, and instead of the officer coming to me, they responded in a harsh voice ” come down and see me.” I had a seizure and they wanted me to walk down stairs??!!

They have NOTHING to help the young and older children of incarcerated parents. These children live with a lot of pain. A mom or dad of 4 can’t see all their children at the same time( or even less with the one child per adult visitor rule). They can’t kiss them, and now because of the pencil rule, they can barely even write them. My kids were dying on the outside, for something I did that I couldn’t even remember because of the dissociation associated with PTSD.

You spend 75% of your time locked up in a small cell living in pure depression. I thought jails were supposed to “correct” behavior. I was planning my own death because the officers were awful, there was NOTHING I could do to support my children, my mental and health issues were not being addressed, and so much more.

Being in jail, isolated, and away is already a punishment. Does it have to be so much worse? Do they have to punish our family members and children by not letting a parent give them a kiss, or even write them? They leave the phones on a very limited amount of time, with MANY people never being able to make a call because of the limited time you can use them. They give you 2 outfits and one towel, and only do laundry twice a week. People were getting infections from the filth, from drying yourself with a towel that has to lie wet in a dirty cell for days on end. They will lock you in your cell 25 days if you don’t make your bed that you have to lie in all day anyway just to come out 30 mins and eat. They yell at you if you ARE outside your cell and have to go to the bathroom. You eat with the same fork that can never be washed, and some had frickin’ mold growing in their cups.

I’ve never heard of a jail with such mean officers, not being able to use a pencil, and just lack of concern in general. Most inmates are good people who made horrible mistakes. Almost all… have a trauma history. What happened to trauma informed care? What is going to happen to the children who feel abandoned by their parents?

This jail is WRONG on so many levels. They get off on making the people locked-up feel even more oppressed and depressed. They will not even let you listen to music on the TV. Our recreational time hardly ever happened because they had something else going on. We hurt from the lack of movement, the depression, the flat-out meanness, not being able to sleep because you lie in bed all day stirring in your heartache, and not being able to ease the innocent on the outside.

I think they want us to get so messed up emotionally that we go out and commit more crimes so we can give the court system more money.

It’s sick, and it’s WRONG!

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