“Its a vicious cycle where their goal is for you to lose everything you have”

G___,

I received two letters from you on March 31st, one was dated February 11th and the second March 27th. So I think there may be some lag time with the mail. You asked if I had received the Human Relations Commission’s Report and I have not! The only thing I received in the mail are two written letters and both March and April “Feedback” booklets. There is no report anywhere to be found if it was sent. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it conveniently was lost by the mail inspection here.

As for your inquiry about any knowledge in regards to Uniece Fennell. There is none in 3D, no one knows a thing here and the officers are tight lipped as if it never happened. When I called home the day after the incident my family was asking about the death – And I had no clue about it at all. When I asked the officer in the pod about it he would not comment and wouldn’t even confirm that anything happened. I watched the local news that evening, there was no story about it there either and nobody gets the newspaper. The women’s pod is on the 5th floor, we are in the dark down here on the 3rd floor. Sorry I couldn’t be of any help this time.

Video visitation seems to be a hot topic lately. I heard that the jail was going to transition to it like Wake County but I didn’t realize it was happening NOW! A couple days in the past few weeks we have been prevented from coming out of our cells in the morning because they had someone working in the visitation room: They’ve already started installing metal mounts to house the video screen. It looks like they are progressing forward despite all the protests inside and out. The feedback booklet hits on a few critical points such as profiting GTL as well as the jail’s profit and how video visitation will dehumanize personal interactions. I want to point out how the District Attorney’s office will directly “profit” from it, too. Just like our phone calls I would think the video visits will be recorded. The district Attorney’s office has access to your phone calls and will now be able to pry into your visits. There is no privacy whatsoever. They read our mail, they record our phone calls, and now they will be keeping tabs on our visits. What would it be like if we had that privilege to listen to the prosecutors and DAs discussions and every phone call that they make. Invade their private interactions. Now that would be something. My point is that the deck is already stacked against you and anytime I speak my mind I have to worry whether or not what I say could be falsely used against me or perceived some other way. It’s ridiculous!

On to other topics! The food and ABL. It has been a roller coaster with them and there is no consistency. When they began in October, there was promise, but now I can see that was just a front. The first 3 weeks were good! A variety of fresh fruit including Bananas, green vegetables, including chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, good portion sizes, and no soy. Currently, the fruit we get is not ripe, heavily bruised, and tastes awful, easily finding its way into the trash container. We have not seen a banana since the first couple of weeks. We hardly get greens, nothing like we got the first few weeks even if we do. Lately the food has been so salty you can’t even eat it. The pancakes yesterday were hard as a rock. At this point I don’t know which company was worse, ARAMARK or ABL. There is absolutely no variety ether. You get the same meals every week multiple times a week. It’s getting old very quick. Honestly, at this point I hope the jail does not review ABL’s contract. What reviews I saw and the article about ABL in the newspaper raving about their good quality and healthier menu is a lie. My vote would be to kick them out too. Their quality and service has been declining since day 1.

I wrote last time about the DA’s office and the prosecutor threatening to obtain another search warrant after a judge has already noted significant misconduct by officers. Well they mangaged to get one, how, I have no clue. The only way is by lying and bad faith, which the DA’s office is notorious for so I’m not surprised. I just read an article in the newspaper on 3/31/17 quoting a supreme court judge. In summary it mentioned that the average person does not think the justice system within North Carolina is fair and a large percentage think the process is too slow. My follow up question to that would be to isolate Durham and see how it compares. My guess would be that Durham would be far worse. I sit here day after day watching how the system in Durham works and it is concerning. Most of the prosecutors are no better than Mike Nifong and Tracy Cline, maybe even worse. I swear they teach a class to these prosecutors on the best way to hide the truth, withhold evidence, and when all else fails keep them in jail and delay, delay, delay. Its a vicious cycle where their goal is for you to lose everything you have; whether its your job, house, car, marriage, etc. And once they’ve exhausted and beat you down by holding you in jail they wait until you give up. It’s just crazy to me and something needs to be done.

Oh, I want to give my thoughts on this jail with regards to Uniece Fennell. I don’t know what happened, but if it was suicide I don’t think that means the jail can wash their hands from liability. My understanding is that this jail was supposed to get more funding for mental health. Officers were supposed to get training on how to better handle mental health issues. If Uniece was troubled enough to harm herself, there were obvious signs that should have been caught. These officers don’t care about anyone in this jail and they are certainly not observant enough. Next, how does the jail provide the means for someone to commit suicide. This should not have happened and should not have even been possible. I’ve lived in these cells for 17 months, if she was able to be successful in her attempt – something was not right and something needs to change. You stress the hell out of people and then place them in a harsh environment. We already know that mental disorders are widely prevalent within the jail. It’s a shame that yet another person dies in this jail.

Alright! Thanks for the letters and Feedback! Looking forward to hear from you soon and any new updates!

– E.X.

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‘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

‘I can’t believe the health department hasn’t looked at these trays…’

8-13-16

Hey —

I do hope you are as well as can be! It was good to hear from you. I’m hangin in here and quickly approaching the 1000th day of incarceration in DCJ. It sucks the big one in here, but that’s how it goes for a person that has an extremely high bond and that’s fighting for their freedom. Don’t take a plea for something you didn’t do and sit and rot in jail. They will get their time out of you one way or another. I’m with the others on the hating the food situation. This soy they got coming to us is not enough to make you not even eat your tray. Recently, I’ve been noticing that the trays haven’t been washed thoroughly. So they bring us this slop to eat and you will see remnants of grits from breakfast and brownies from lunch that they didn’t clean good enough. Also, another issue is the trays themselves. Since I have been here (going on 31 months) and actually in 2008 I was here and saw the same type of trays. They haven’t replaced them. The lids in particular are hollow and many of them get full of water and dish soap. So you might get a tray and the lid weighs 5-10 pounds. Then you might get another that’s not full of water. This water drains out on your food. I have held one up and let water and old soap drain out on the floor. Most times if you inspect the food there are little bubbles with soap residue where something hasn’t been washed or that these old plastic trays/lids have leaked stagnant/soapy water out in our food. I can’t believe the health department hasn’t looked at these trays after and in between meals. It’s fucking disgusting to say the least. I mean a dude might blow his nose and put the tissue on these trays and it goes back down to the kitchen to be washed and they half-ass spray it down. We need new trays in the kitchen that our food comes to us on. And we need new dishwashers. These guys are fellows that probably never had a job on the street and couldn’t keep one if they did. They don’t give a damn about their fellow inmates, or their own cleanliness. I bet these guys have homes that are disgusting and have cockroaches running around, pizza boxes stacked up in the corner and endless lines of piss ants marching around everywhere. Savages. I wouldn’t mind throwing them in the sink and scalding them with their sprayer that is plenty powerful enough to clean our trays we eat on and that can easily remove old food. Bastards smh. Ask around on the tray situation. Oh, one more thing. There hasn’t been a toilet brush in this block 5-C in over a year and a half. I got some funk in my toilet that looks like it’s gonna grown arms and climb out of the bowl. I have had to clean it with my hands and a rag. Looks like I’ll have to continue. Drains still clogged in 5-C and overflowing their filth for us to inhale. Sewer gas is supposed to be vented by code (by law), yet it vents in our block and we inhale these toxic vapors. I may as well tell you about the carpet that was removed in 5-C. It was peeled up months ago, but the adhesive remains. People scuff their feet on it and chairs slide on it. Then janitors sweep over top of it. So with that being said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the particles that are scuffed up (being tiny pieces of adhesive) are becoming airborne. Do they give us dust masks? No. Is that adhesive safe to breathe? One could tell that it’s airborne because when we sweep anywhere in this block, including our rooms, there’s tiny pieces of this yellow adhesive. It wouldn’t take but some remover, scrapers ,and a few swingin dicks to scrape and the jail would have successfully completed a task of removing what they started removing. I’ll stop now. Hopefully these concerns can help clean this place up, if you care to voice them. I have spread the word of your mission and will continue to do so…Thanks.

B.

‘God only knows’

Hello. I am well. I did get the books…I have a court date coming up on the 5th and I have no idea what is going to happen that day because I have not seen my lawyer in sometime. I hope all is well, but God only knows. I pray that it will be okay daily, but if you don’t have money to fight them you are at the mercy of the courts. And so I wait.

Thanks again.

H.R.

‘I’m a black male–that’s why I’m still here.’

Hello feedback world,

I have been housed here in the Durham County Jail since April 8, 2016. After checking my house on the night in question, the Durham police left with nothing. But they came back a week later cause the word of a white woman. Yes, I’m a black male, that’s why I’m still here. Thanking God for the change in my life. I’ve been out the system for eight long years. Continue reading

‘The outcome would have been different’

I hope that upon receiving this letter you guys at Inside-Outside Alliance are in good health and spirits. I myself am doing o.k., trying to stay strong.

I was recently sentenced for a crime that I did not commit due to the corrupt system of Durham County. My attorney knew months before I was sentenced that I was innocent, but due to the nature of the crime, she had already found me guilty before even looking at the actual evidence. Even after she got the evidence needed to prove my innocence, she did nothing to help me, she filed no motions for dismissal or for anything else that could help my case. Continue reading