Not Playin’: 20 Questions for the Sheriff


Tell the Durham County Commissioners to

Stop Funding Inhumane Treatment

This coming Monday, June 22, as the county commissioners are poised to approve the budget for 2015-16, we are asking folks to take the time to remind those officials of the sheriff’s lack of accountability and the torturous conditions at the county jail.

Please call or write all of the Durham County commissioners (contact information below) and include one, several or all of the following “20 Questions for Sheriff Andrews,” who has engineered the lockback while being shadowy and deceitful about conditions at the jail.

Durham County Board of Commissioners contacts:

Michael Page, Chair

Phone: 919-949-4022



Brenda Howerton

Phone: 919 544-4160


Wendy Jacobs

Phone: 919-401-3538



Fred Foster

Phone: 919-479-8305



Ellen Reckhow

Phone: 919-383-3833



You can use the below as the body of your email, or as a guide for making a phone call:


Good morning County Commissioner,

Before you approve any budgetary funds for the sheriff’s department, I demand that you require Sheriff Andrews to give adequate answers to the following questions concerning the Durham County Detention Facility (DCDF):

  1. Why are inmates’ medical fees being doubled on July 1st(raised from $10 to $20 per medical “visit,” which includes getting a Band-Aid)?
  1. Why are mailed letters consistently not getting to inmates? What is protocol for not allowing an inmate to receive a letter?
  1. What has been the impact of mandated online visitation scheduling, which began on November 17, 2014? Show us the numbers: What were monthly visitations prior to November 17, 2014, and what have they been since then?
  1. What has become of the shoes that were taken from the inmates in pod 4D? When will these people get back their shoes — their personal property?
  1. Why are inmates not allowed to have pencils in their cells?
  1. If an inmate is transferred to another facility or is taken off site, what is your procedure for contacting a family member who has a visitation scheduled so that they do not waste their time coming for visitation?
  1. If jail officials move an inmate from one pod to another, what is your procedure for alerting a family member who has a visitation scheduled so that they do not waste their time coming for visitation on the wrong day?
  1. How many books are inmates allowed to have? Why is there a limit on books? Why do you no longer allow inmates to receive used books from booksellers or book distributors authorized by the NC Department of Corrections?
  1. Are inmates allowed to possess the Koran (Qur’an)or religious books other than the Bible? 
  1. How many grievances have detainees filed in the past three months, and how have they been handled? What is the current status of these grievances? 
  1. Why are student IDs or Mexican consular IDs accepted at visitation sometimes but not at other times?
  1. What are the results of the investigation into the alleged finding of improvised weapons insidethe jail? Do you have any photos of said weapons for the public to see?  Has anyone been charged in connection with the alleged safety breach, or other contraband that was allegedly found?
  1. How many staff members have resigned from DCDF in the past six months?
  1. How are inmates screened for mental illness/ mental health issues, and how does DCDF provide care for detainees with such issues?
  1. What is DCDF’s protocol for reporting suicide attempts or suicides?
  2. What is the restraint chair? Who is authorized to use it on inmates, and what do mental health professionals have to say about it?

17. Does the Durham County Detention Facility have a policy manual? If so, is this manual available for the public to view?

18. Have you issued a detailed report about the implementation of the lockback/ modified detainee walk schedule? What is the basis for your collective punishment of inmates?

  1. When will inmates be granted full recreation time?
  1. When will you submit to a full independent investigation of the jail by doctors, nutritionists, lawyers, and community people?


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