Survey: ‘We are handled like products on a shelf’

How long have you been inside? I’ve been inside now 5 months. 

How many court appearances have you had? 3 (not counting 1st appearances) on 2 separate cases. 

How many times have you talked to your lawyer? Saw 1 lawyer 1 time and the other lawyer 1 time.

What is the situation regarding your charge? (Awaiting sentencing, awaiting trial, awaiting appearance, etc.?) Currently I’m doing 150 days for probation violation and waiting for an appearance on new charges. 

Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it. No I have never been disciplined for any reason. 

What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? What’s right with DCDC, anything?

If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? We are handled like products on a shelf. The more money the county can make off of us being incarcerated the better, is how it seems. The DA’s don’t care if we get to come to court. Our lawyers (court appointed) don’t seem to care if we come to court. We’re treated worse than the animals at the shelter/pound. And no one shows us any respect for the most part. Now in 5B, STARR/GRAD pod, we had some c.o.’s show us respect, but not on any other pod. We’ve only been charged, most of us are not sentenced yet, if at all, but yet we’re all treated like rapists & kilers & child molesters by most of the staff. Very judgmental people. 

Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? No visitors for me. No calls. 

We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? Medical services do OK sometimes. If they ever get around to you. Also, there never seems to be a doctor here anymore, just physician assistants.

We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? It could and should be a lot better. Aramark has taken complete advantage of the situation of what we get on trays. They just want to make money. 

What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail? Not good. We are lucky to go to the library at all and on weeks we don’t go we don’t even have books delivered to the pods. 

What do you think of the c.o.’s? I don’t have problems but I’ve seen others have major problems with c.o.’s over nothing. Some c.o.’s power trip/ ego trip. 

How do you get along with other prisoners? I get along fine with everyone.

How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? They don’t affect me getting along with anyone. 

What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? I found my higher power/God and the STARR/GRAD program has started me off on the road to recovery from years of drug and alcohol addiction. 

Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened? No.

Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? Just this questionnaire. 

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? It would be an idea. 

How could it work? What would it look like? Let a council of inmates work out procedures with upper management staff. It would take some time I’m sure but a good idea. 

What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? DV. I’m sure it’s very common. Just like cheating wives. 

What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) Young black males. Drugs or violent crimes (robbery, AWDW, etc.)

In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? Yes. I would say race. But I’m white so notice that there are lot more blacks in here. 70% black, 20% Latino, 10% white is what it seems like to me. 

What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? Profiling has always been a problem.

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? Incarceration, to keep us off the streets, and make money off of us from the state. People outside are very judgmental.

What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? Love your neighbor. Just do the right thing and help out anyone when in your ability to do it.

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