The First Five Grieving Committee: Who We Are, What We Stand For

March 18, 2016 Friday

We, as members of the First Five Grieving Committee of the Durham County Jail is sending to you an introduction letterhead or introduction cover letter to let you know who we are, what we stand for and what we are about: this letterhead could have been typed and/or Xeroxed, but the detention officers have told us that they do not want to play any part of helping us or assisting us in any way concerning our group or committee:  so if it is within your power, can you please send us 20-30 copies back through the mail, and if you can, can you have it typed, too.

We need all the assistance we can, at least, from the outside (Feedback)!! We would also like a copy of your Feedback Newspaper given to us regularly, if that is within your power. If there is other resources and addresses or agencies to help us, please send that information to us. We are a committee that is representing all races of people, whether it be Afro-American, whites, Hispanic, etc. There are several things we are grieving about during our stay at this Durham Detention Facility. In this letter, we would like to address some of those grievances to you, so that you may know, ‘first-hand’ what’s going on with us in this detention center.

After talking with the major of this jail, she told us that the 9 pm – 10:45 pm time that we should be out at night will not be given back to us. Some inmates need to take showers at night or call our relatives or friends at night, because they work in the daytime, but we can’t do so, because we are now locked back in our cell.


The First Five Grieving Committee of the Durham County Jail


We, the members of this Grieving Committee, in order that we may establish a more excellent environment for the inmates and the detention officers of this jail facility, establish justice, and advance the general welfare, we have ordained this Grieving Committee for this very purpose.

Why are we here?

To prevent abuse or injustice and lend support to inmates while incarcerated.

The First Five Grievances:

  1. Arrest      Interrogation           3. High Bond Set               4. First Appearance         5. Doing Time (Grieving while doing time)

The First Five Traditions:

  1. Never disrespect an officer, but speak in a respectable manner
  2. We are a non-violent organization
  3. We will always seek help from outside sources and enterprises, including radio, television and film
  4. We are representatives of all races, creeds, colors and nationalities.
  5. We are non-gang affiliated, but we are willing to listen and lend a hand of any grievances that they may have.

The Five Rules for the Doorman:

  1. No violence, cussing, joking or horseplaying.
  2. If 2 or more people have a heated discussion, one of the parties have to take a 10-20 minute break immediately.
  3. When there is a heated discussion, all other conversation is cut off until the problem is resolved.
  4. No other outsiders, when the board meeting is in session, unless otherwise specified.
  5. No letters or gang signs being passed while in meeting, concerning the outsiders.

Grievances of the Durham County Jail Facility:

  1. The time we should be out at night (9:00 p – 10:45p) has been taken away from us permanently. We now cannot call home after 6:45 pm, but are locked in our cell till the next morning at 6:45 a.m. (12 hours). Some of us cannot reach our family during the day because they are at work, but after 6:45 pm, they are at home, but we cannot call them, cause we are locked back (12 hours).
  2. Most of us in this whole dormitory 5C, 3D, 4D and the rest of the jail have extremely high bonds to match the charges that they have. Some bonds are 1.5 million dollars for simple drug charges that is non-violent. (For example) Emanuel Lennon has a half million dollar bond because of a simple ‘habitual felon’ charge which is non-violent charges. The bonds are excessively too high for us inmates.
  3. We ought to be able to watch Gospel shows on Sunday if we want to (at least for 1 hour), without depriving us of our religious rights.
  4. We need to be able to go to the law library to check out law books regardless if we have a lawyer or representing ourselves.
  5. The G.E.D. program or life skills program should not be for only ages 16-24 year olds, but it should be for older men/women as well that’s in this facility that wants an education enhanced.
  6. We need mats that is more up-to-date when sleeping on this “concrete slab”; because there is a lot of old mats that is no good, worn and torn.
  7. Laundry comes back “dingy” and dirty because the colored clothes are also washed with the white clothes, together.
  8. Inmates need to be fully screened and treated for health issues before sending them to populated dorms: at this time, inmates are sent up to populated cells without being treated for lice, etc.
  9. If our grieving wife (that we are married to) is locked up in the same facility with us, we should be able to come together, at times, to talk to them face to face or at least with the thick glass between us as we talk to one another. At this present time, there is no visitation between spouses.

Thank you for considering our requests and grievances; if there is any way you can help us, please “feel free” to do so and we will sincerely appreciate it.


Emanuel Lennon

Secretary of the First 5 Grieving Committee

of the Durham County Jail


2 thoughts on “The First Five Grieving Committee: Who We Are, What We Stand For

  1. Pingback: Sheriff Andrews responds to the First Five Grieving Committee | Amplify Voices Inside

  2. Pingback: Response to the Sheriff from the First 5 Grieving Committee | Amplify Voices Inside

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