A conspiracy of the incarcerated

Michael Page (Chairman) states that if any of the claims about the actions and atmosphere of the Durham County Jail were substantiated—he would be totally surprised…

Let me get this straight—so it’s the members of the board of county commissioners’ belief that the numerous complaints coming from the inmates and families of inmates incarcerated in Durham County Jail are false? You mean to tell the public that different inmates of age, color, race and sex, housed in different blocks, on different floors have somehow come together in like mind and conspired to provide false claims against the jail and jailers, when these same inmates can’t even come together to agree on what TV channel to watch?

No, Mr. Page—you are right. It is a huge conspiracy to slander the already good name of the Durham County Jail. So you can continue to turn a blind eye and worry about more serious pressing matters like funding the jail with 2 million dollars more to “suicide proof” the cells. I mean, Sheriff Andrews did say that there were an alarming rise of suicide attempts since the jail was placed on lockback…What?…Oh! He didn’t say that?…HMMMMM

I would like you to understand how ludicrous these denials are. In the very same newspaper that printed these statements from Mr. Page, Ms. Jacobs, and Sheriff Andrews denying any merit to the claims made against the jail, PayTel/GlobalTel, Corrective Care Services, Aramark, etc. (Herald-Sun, July 14, 2015), on page A12 there was also a small article printed and titled: “Michigan ends prison food contract year after company fined.” In this article, it is reported that the state of Michigan terminated a 3-year, $145 million contract with Ararmark Correctional Services. Problems with the company ranged from lack of cleanliness, unapproved menu substitutions, unapproved menu changes, inadequate staffing and employee misconduct to maggot and rodent problems.

Wait a minute…unapproved menu substitutions, unapproved menu changes…aren’t these problems similar to the “ludicrous” claims Durham County inmates are making against Aramark? I mean, I don’t have a law degree, eight years of college, a comfy political job, or rich parents so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Surely the state of Michigan must be an isolated incident. The Aramark arm that is contracted out to the Durham County Jail would surely never do any of those things, or jack up canteen prices 300%, or serve less food than what we are supposed to have, or take the food we are supposed to get, charge 5-9 dollars for it and call it “hot trays,” NO, they would never provide inadequate diets or get caught in the parking lot smoking crack. No, our Aramark people are innocent…until proven guilty. Just like the inmates, right?

You may notice a touch of sarcasm in this letter, and for that-I’m almost sorry. I just think that it is very sad that Durham has changed into this kind of city. I am Inmate X and my last letter to you pleaded for the same things: justice, compassion, mercy, understanding, and the benefit of doubt. You who read or hear this letter have sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles…that could very well one day be a part of this injustice. Look across our nation where police seem to think it is a crime to “drive while black.” Police are assuming the roles of judge, jury and executioner. Jails and prisons are mistreated, abusing and even killing their incarcerated. It’s time for people to stand up and say “No More!” It’s time for these politicians who promise so much on their ways into office to start making good on those promises. Remember! We are people who feel, hope, cry, laugh and who have been given inalienable rights endowed by our creator. Just. Like. You.

A voice crying out in the wilderness,

Inmate X

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