We got the letters from the sheriff slid under our doors around 2 AM the night of the protest (April 17). This letter, just like their statement on the news, is full of lies.
He says that it is not punishment but implemented for safety issues. If that were the case–why were all of the blocks placed on lockdown instead of the offending parties?
He states that it has to do with assaults on officers–even you said that on the news they said it was because an inmate overpowered an officer–this is not true. Even when one of us so much as kicks his door or refuses to go to his/her room, they “call code,” which means they speak a code over the radios, and any free officer in the building rushes to that block in case they need to get “physical.” I’ve witnessed officers break up fights between inmates and beat them in their faces with their fists just cause they were mad or just cause they could. No inmate(s) would jump on an officer cause we know that we might not survive it.
He states that they have “made every effort” to continue access to religious services–which is another lie. In the almost 7 weeks that we have been on lockback they’ve allowed one, one person to come in and the only people who could attend were people out on their walk.
Let me tell you about this walk: there is a reasonable capacity of about 62 inmates to a block.
When they first started allowing the walks it was 6 inmates out for two hours at a time 3 times a week. Let’s say 50 people—means around 10 walks, for two hours each—that’s (about) 20 hours of walks! They would start in the morning at 9 a.m. and wouldn’t finish until 4 a.m. the next morning! So when he says…”We have increased the number of cells open at any one time…” it wasn’t to help or reward us, it was to help them! And instead of 6 people out now it’s like 10…for still…only 2 hours 3 times a week.
They are trying to say because of fights in the jail they’ve done this and that if we quit we’ll come out. This is a lie. It’s just an excuse to keep us on lockback because this is jail (and) there will always be fights!
More ways that Durham is trying to cover up their misdeeds and lies with more lies. Like holding our mail for 5 months and not telling us, not giving it to us, placing it in our property, or even sending it back! That’s a federal offense!
Anyway, this letter is to the people who are protesting and also sending us those used books that they held. I have written over 6 letters to (those groups) with no reply—so it’s safe to assume that our mail to/ from them is being tampered with.
I really started to believe that you all had abandoned us—that is until I finally had confirmation that the jail has been messing with our mail.
Last Friday, they began to pass out books from the Internationalist Prison Books Collective that they had been holding for more than 4 months from us. They now say that we cannot receive used books free or bought, but never told us anything about it until now. I was outraged!!! Durham County jail, police and courts are getting away with murder!
We can only come out for 2 hours 3 times a week, can only have 5 books in our cells—including law books and bibles, dictionaries, etc. Soy meat to eat and sandwiches every night, no pencils in our cells, no religious activities, increase in price on canteen items, apathetic staff members, shoddy health care—and now violation of our mail.
I’ve been here for (12+) months and I am so done—but I know they use these measures to make us accept ludicrous plea bargains—so I will keep holding on god willing.