In an extended interview / questionnaire, E.Y. weighs in on the difference between a c.o. and a prisoner, the realities of life inside, food and drink, and the threat of extending any say about conditions to the prisoners themselves.
It’s good to hear from you and the family at I.O.A. Sorry for not getting back (sooner), but here you go.
1. How long have you been inside? I’ve been in jail since June.
2. How many court appearances have you had? I’ve only had one or maybe two court appearance.
3. How many times have you talked to your lawyer? My lawyer has been coming to see me. She is consistent in letting me know what’s going on with my case.
4. What is the situation regarding your charge? Well, I’m actually waiting to go to court on a charge which I’ve already done the days for, just waiting to go to court. And I have a pending charge of assault on a government official which they are going to indict me on so they can turn it from a misdemeanor to a felony. Just waiting to go to court is all.
5. Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it. Yes, I’ve been disciplined a number of times in the past, but only once since I’ve been here this time, and the reason for that was because I got into a fight.
6. What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? The problems that the DCJ has is the food, the high prices that ARAMARK charges for the canteen, and the medical care that they provide.
7. If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? The largest grievance that I have concerns the food that we eat and the drink that they feed us which has a skull-and-crossbones on it, and you have to either drink that or water out of your sink.
8. Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? My wife visits me and the biggest concern that she has is the prices on the canteen, and the portions of food that they feed us like children.
9. We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? The health services could do a lot better. If the staff would actually take time out to hear what’s wrong with you instead of just tryin to get $10.00 out of your account.
10. We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? The food is unacceptable and the food that we are supposed to get they give to the guards. And the portions of the food wouldn’t fill a two-year-old kid up. And your dealing with grown men, and grown kids, so they can feed us better.
11. What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail?The library the books are old, and they don’t have an educational service but the STARR and grad program which focus on the drugs I guess.
12. What do you think of the c.o.’s?You have some C.O.s that are okay and you have some that aren’t but in the end there’s them and there’s us.
13. How do you get along with other prisoners? I don’t worry about other prisoners because I’m used to doin time so I mind my business and don’t interfere with theirs.
14. How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? That has a lot to do with it because the staff has control of when they let us out, take us to court, and things of that nature. And when you’re in a room with another inmate from 6:45 am to 9:00 pm more than 17 hours a day it gets hard and fights happen on stress.
15. What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? There are no good experiences when you’re locked up to me, or the time that they allow you to see your family that’s the only good thing. And to find yourself to know what you have to do to stay outta here.
16. Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened?I have never filed a complaint or grievance because they are ignored so why bother.
17. Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? No, I haven’t.
18. Some DCDC prisoners have suggested the idea of a prisoners council that would participate in making decisions about things at the jail. What do you think of such an idea? The jail would probably consider that a threat to the way they run this place so that won’t happen.
19. How could it work? What would it look like? It wouldn’t work, because it is a threat.
20. What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? My circumstances were pretty good, I just had old warrants and got into it with an asshole cop who knew my past and let him trap me off.
21. What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) I have noticed that there are more kids in here than anything, and the reason why is because they have nothing to do out there to keep them out of these gangs hands, the powers that be would rather spend a hundred and twenty million on a building than put it towards the youth, jobs, schools or things of that nature.
22. In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? Yes there is because black and brown are the ones being targeted, and the poor whites. We have more people locked up in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, and North Carolina has more prisons than anywhere else. This is the new modern day slavery for our generation without the chains and whips.
23. What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? Because the majority of the people are from the ghetto or lower class or poor. If you’re rich you don’t see them with that problem–they buy their way out.
24. What do you think is the point of jail? Prison? The justice system? What do you think people on the outside think about people who are locked up? Some people deserve to be there and some don’t because the justice system is racist in a lot of ways and it needs to be rewritten or enforced properly. And how could you lock up a race when you are supplying these races with the means of drugs and guns, and then turn around and make money off of it either way. So, what’s the point?
25. What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? Need better leaders and more people to stand up and take the reins, and better judges, lawyers, politicians, and truly work towards being a free country truly and to stop saying the land of the free when truly it’s the land of the haves and the have nots.
In the struggle,