‘Not falling for the trick this system uses…’

Jan 4 2017

Dear —

Hello to you all the IOA. I pray you all had a wonderful holiday season. Yes, I’m still here after 39 months standing strong in my faith. Refusing to bend. Not falling for the trick this system uses (waiting you out) hoping you sign a plea for something you did not do! Continue reading

‘WAR: It’s time to fight back’

Whatz up.

I’m still fighting. I know you haven’t heard from me in a while. I been doing a lot of reading and thinking. Like the question what goal are we trying to get to? How do we plan on getting there?

What the system doing to us is the same thing they been doing for years! They just change the shell. Like slavery instead of working the fields, they send us to jail and prison. Instead of house niggers, they have c.o.’s or d.o.’s. Also D.A.’s.  Continue reading

“Writing and actions gets things done…’

How are you? I’m doing ok myself. Hope this letter finds you in the best possible health and spirits. Yeah, when I got your letter typewritten it kind of threw me off (lol). Thanks for the latest feedback, keep them coming please.

Now, about the national anthem protests: I 100% couldn’t agree or say it better than Tom-Tom’s response! Well, the c.o.’s told us that Aramark would no longer be doing canteen and also the dude has been fired. Now, why he has, I have no clue. Different stories have been going around, like he got caught trying to bring drugs in, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe you could find out and let me know. I haven’t found out anything new about them locking us back for no reason, they won’t tell us nothing. No problem about letting you all know about the recreation situation—I hope they all get banished (Faulkner and Coleman) from this jail for good. Yeah, taking our spoons and cups are completely ridiculous and unsanitary, but like you said writing and actions gets things done… Continue reading

‘They always cry it’s a security concern when they don’t want to change for the better’

Hey J & S,

I hope y’all don’t mind me responding to you both in a single letter. I have just completed putting final touches on a petition for Writ of Mandamus to be mailed to Durham District Court in the AM. Trying to level the playing field keeps me wide open in here!

I can hardly wait to get out of this awful place. I am 65 years young. There is much work to do in the realm of jurisprudence for the offenders and the courts to get the playing field leveled and reduce crime.

I am going to seek a Soros Justice Fellowship when I get out to conduct a study in Durham, Wake, Guilford, and Mecklenburg jails and courts to see just how effective their court appointed lawyer system is and how justice is meted out in these courts. I’d like to compare the plea deals offered by those various DAs for similar offenses committed in those 4 counties. If I get a justice fellowship, I could then hire a small staff and have other non-profit agencies help me to extend this study to all 100 counties.

The courts need someone — a serious watchdog — looking over their shoulders, as District Attorneys. Continue reading

Fight Fire with Fire

9/8/16

To my brothers and sisters in the struggle of Durham County Jail and the Durham Justice system, yeah (just us). Yes, it is very real. The New Slavery, mass incarceration is living and gaining more steam as we speak. The only way to dismantle this capitalist machine at 510 S. Mangum St. and new pretty building on 510 Dillard St. (No, not the DPAC. LOL) This County makes its own court docket. So if they want you to sit, you sit here at 510 Mangum St. until you are tried or cop out to an unjust plea bargain. And the condition of the jail (commissary/canteen, GTL phone, medical, food, time out of cell). We must stick together and force them to take all cases to trial, whether it’s a traffic case, misdemeanor, or felony case. This is fighting fire with fire. Stop using the phones and stop making companies like Aramark rich by putting our people’s money in their pocket. And then, only then, something will change for us as whole. If we just sit here and complain and do nothing, they will keep feeding the machine. So if nothing changes, then nothing changes. And that’s real.

 

Be strong and

pray, pray, pray,

-B.R.

 

img_1935

protest outside Durham County Detention Center, Sept. 9, 2016

 

 

 

‘Now I’m going through the same thing in Hillsborough’

Hello, how are you? Not sure who I’m writing by name, but I’m familiar with your work and organization. Y’all used to send me newsletters and stuff during my 22 and a half month stay in Durham County Jail from May 2012 to March 2014. I sat in there through lockbacks and all for a charge that was dismissed that I did not have anything to do with which I believe the police knew from the start. Continue reading

‘They can’t keep us forever…’

Thank you for writing. How are you doing? Me, I’m doing okay for the situation I’m in. As inmates we all know the food is a joke, there is a lack of supplies, we’re on lockback most of the day, and the c.o.’s should go find another job. Here’s a little something that touches on each of those plus a couple more:

Better Days

I’m sitting in this piece of shit, known as D.C.J.

I swear it’s the same shit like every other day

I need to call a bondsman and get the fuck out

But I don’t have the bread, so I’m sitting without a doubt

We wake up at 6, looking like the walking dead

Only to get oatmeal and some stale-ass bread

Then we get watered-down juice

Might as well be zero proof Grey Goose

Upstairs in my cell, with my roomie

I swear this food runs right through me

I ask for toilet paper, of course they don’t have none

I promise they’re lying just for fun

These stinking-ass people need to take a shower

Because they damn sure don’t smell like a flower

I understand you can’t when you don’t have hot water

It will be cold as ice, so fuck it why bother?

Medical is still charging $20 for a tylenol pill

I could have just traded an item for that, I’m for real

A few hours out of my cell ain’t nothin

I’m not getting any younger like Benjamin Button

And with the expensive canteen in this shithole

No matter what you keep, you still end up with a swole

Finally, fuck a snitch

They’re just as bad as the c.o.’s who work in this bitch

They treat us with no respect

Even the sergeants step on us like we’re insects

But they can’t keep us forever

Our days will soon get better

I wrote this to show my support

Especially on the days we have court.

                                                       –Allie Steppe

P.S. I hope you publish this in the newsletter. -Thank you!

‘This is a mean business, a money game’

June 29

Power Comrade –

Hope all is well. As for myself I am in good spirits, considering my current situation. As for my health, I run and do yoga daily so my health is fair. This “capitalist machine” profits off of poverty. We have to teach the comrades in here the law, that’s the “capitalist machine’s” biggest weapon. In order for us to stand up and fight we need law material.  – Power

Unafraid of the consequences

July 1, 3 am

Power Comrade —

The people our youth admire are addicted to drugs. It’s important that we pay attention to the youth because they think these stars, actors and rappers are special. The youth think that these entertainers have something they don’t, and this is not true. Every human has it, we have to re-educate the youth, and help them find their purpose. Continue reading

“There is some rumor going around that visitation will soon change too”

G___,

Thanks for the Feedback newsletter this month.  Yep, I’m still here waiting on the ever so slow legal system.  Seems like everyone here is in the same boat, waiting months on end to go to court just to have it postponed by the prosecutor for some nonsense reason.  I’ve been here 9 months and finally ready to get some pertinent motions heard, and the prosecutor claims she hadn’t had enough time to prepare for my motions, postponing my next court date for yet another month.  It’s crazy!  As Donald Trump would say, “It’s rigged.”  Other than that everything has been okay.  The mail has been like always, slow and sporadic.  Occasionally they’re opening my mail, still, but the only response I can get from the officers that manage the mail is that they don’t regulate what mail gets searched and why.  I guess I’ll get no answer as to why my mail is being searched.  We got a letter this week from major Rita Collins saying we will not be able to receive stamps in the mail anymore.  I didn’t like that news, now I have to give Aramark more money just to get stamps.

I did catch the article in the paper a couple weeks ago about the County Board of Health’s report and finding them deficient in 4 of 38 regulations.  The jail was obviously not in full compliance with these health regulations and my assumption is they never were to begin with.  It’s also obvious the National Institute of Corrections and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare who came to assess the situation after Matthew’s death in January swept any non-compliance under the rug.  Both deaths that occurred in this jail in the last 2 years have been preventable given the appropriate preemptive measures that should have been taken.  Now I’m wondering how long the jail has been in violation of standard regulations set by the county board of health?  I guess the more eyes that come to inspect the jail the better, and I hope the City of Durham’s Human Relations Commission is able to make a difference here, whenever they do their public forum.

There is some rumor going around that visitation will soon change, too.  Instead of in-person visits, they are organizing to set up audio/video feeds and monitors for visitations.  Your family members will still have to come to the jail to “visit,” but you will only see a T.V. transmission in which you can both hear and see each other.  I’m gonna say it’s similar to Skype or FaceTime.  Yet another way for the jail to record every action you make when you are here, just like the phones.

Anyway, thanks for your letter, the Feedback newsletter, and your continued support!

_____