‘Major Couch and others guarded the health inspector like he was the president’

1.9.16 (YES THE DATE IS CORRECT!)

Hey —,

Sorry my letter returns be so inconsistent, but here’s one anyway. I can’t tell you how much progress I’ve seen over these last 3 years I’ve been here that the IOA has been making. It feels awesome to know that we have a voice through you and the rest of the IOA team. Thanks everyone. I know I don’t communicate with you as much as I should, but believe me when I tell you I’m a soldier in this war we are in. Whatever you did to get the health inspector here was awesome progress. No one wanted to approach the man because Major Couch and like 4 other officers guarded him like he was the president. They did NOT want us talking/complaining to him. I think you would be excited to know what I did. LOL yeah I went to talk to him. I didn’t know he was coming, so I didn’t have a list of complaints ready. The first time I walked up though Major Couch blocked me off. So when I asked to talk to him, he said, “Why?”, I told him, “to give him a run down on all the health risks I believe to be problematic in the jail.”  He (Couch) said, “If you have concerns you can tell me or one of the officers.” Basically so he could intercept any negative feedback. So when he turned his back I ran up to the inspector and asked if we could talk. He said he didn’t mind, if it was ok with the officers, and right then I knew it wasn’t a problem in the beginning because all the officers reluctantly (in front of him) agreed. Our conversation was brief, I walk with him while he inspected some cells and showers. I informed him of a few things and he was honest with me. The things I was telling him about like mold on the beds, insects in our food, gnats and other bugs in the showers, he said that our “standard” of living while in jail was not unreasonable but a bit high. Also that the rules that they enforce are out of date and were made in the 70s, so that was another major technicality (Maybe that’s something you all could talk the commission of the health department into updating).

Also, I haven’t got a visit but twice lately, so more than likely they’re doing something to where I can’t see you. Just another day in the Durham County Jail.

S.B.

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