‘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!

T or F: These dishes are not intended for human consumption.

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

“Aramark is here to stay”

After reading that topic, I hope the news gets better? And it could, if we work together. Just this morning, another inmate sounded off at me. He said, ‘You still writing that shit? You’re wasting these guys’ time. Why don’t you write about something important?’ I’m thinking, ‘This guy’s got 3,000+ dollars on his books. I have .02 cents on mine. I assume, to people here in jail with 3,000 in their account here, I reckon I am wasting my time. That’s really got me primed. Wonder in the mornings which leg he starts with to get dressed. Now back to Aramark, which is teaming up with these people who are currently in control of our lives, and those who are in our circle. There’s not much to life, being in here. Continue reading

‘This jail needs to be flushed out and reorganized’

Hello IOA,

My name is Bernard Cheek. I don’t care if anyone see my name. I’m not afraid of any man or woman but Jesus and God. I would like to say the medical screening is a joke here, they don’t have the right size blood pressure cuff for my arm. The commissary is too high for the inmates, GTL is making a killing off of inmate phone calls. The hot tray they sell are very expensive. The c.o.s get wholesome food at very reasonable prices. The inmates pay for the c.o.s food, because Aramark, the jail’s food service provider triples the inmates’ hot tray price. Continue reading

‘They try to punish you for little things…’

April 21, 2016 (received May 19)

Dear —

I’m doing good, keeping my head high. I’m ready to go home, this ain’t no place for anybody, they treat us like animals and talk to us any type of way. They crazy how they let that wonderful man (Matthew McCain) die. They don’t want to be doing they job.  Continue reading

‘My life doesn’t matter so long as they can get paid off my misery’

By Vincent P.

I was locked up for six months for being $900 in arrears in child support. The thing was, my kids were living with me. I was supporting them. But the state (or the county) wants their money. How and why am I paying child support for children that are in my house? Who am I paying it to? It’s going directly to the state. What does that have to do with my children?

So they left my younger daughters to go with their mother, who was not supposed to have unsupervised visits. My older daughter and son were left to be homeless on the streets while in school while I did my time. Well, I really think the jail term did more harm to my family than good. Two 17 year olds with no parents at all. They were left on their own.

When I was in court before getting locked up, a chaplain Holloway from the Durham Rescue Mission came and said I could have a job so I’d be able to make my payments, and the judge told him to move along, that he wasn’t supposed to be there. What is that all about?

The judge said, ‘How are the kids going to eat?’ I tried to explain they had been with me, that they were eating. And he told me, “You’re in custody, don’t speak.” I didn’t even have a lawyer on my side, it was just people from the prosecutors’ office and the judge against me. Continue reading

After Winter Must Come Spring

(this statement is included in a newly published zine by IOA called No More Jail Deaths No More Jail, which you can find here)

A statement from Inside-Outside Alliance, April 2016

Everything is everything / What is meant to be, will be / After winter, must come spring / Change, it comes eventually –Lauryn Hill

The days after Matthew McCain’s death on Tuesday, January 19th were as bleak as any this winter in Durham. On Friday the 22nd, a mixture of snow and ice pummeled the Triangle area. As they often do, media outlets focused singularly on the weather event, despite social media outrage about Matt’s death. But the determination of Matthew’s loved ones, and of those who had witnessed his death by medical neglect, could not be denied, and once the snow and ice had melted, the egregious inaction of jail staff began coming to fuller light. Further, Shakiyla Young, who had all but stopped hoping for a drop of information about the death of her father, Dennis McMurray, identified with the pain and helplessness felt by Matthew’s family and publicly came forward again with her story about her father’s death in the jail a year prior.   Continue reading

‘IOA: Fight til you can’t fight no more’

Greetings to IOA,

Content!…This is the first word of this letter I insist on stating. I’m Christian and a firm believer of being content. I received your first letter and my apologies for taking so long to respond. Under my circumstances I have been seriously practicing what I preach to set an example for others around me that complain about everything inside or outside the jail. According to my beliefs which it says in Phillippians 4:11, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” and also Hebrews 13:5-6, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” and because of this I refrained from writing. My God is a God of Love, Justice, Peace, Happiness and everything Good. So on behalf of my Brother through Christ our Savior, in whom I actually grew up with as we went to United Pentecostal Church, which is now First Pentecostal Church located on Carver St., from childhood to adulthood, and God allowing me to be present at his “Homecoming” to Heaven, my condolences to Matthew McCain, but I disclose to those who know or who may not know details about his death. Continue reading

‘The professionalism here is at an all-time minimum’

3-8-16

I welcome all letters, info and visitations at all times that are available (permanently–T.K.)

Hello,

I’m Tony King and let me first start off by saying my name may be used in any positive form of light that helps contribute to the awareness of what I.O.A. stands for within its public and private affairs. I must admit I am far from a perfect person; however, I am a good person, a person that believes that right is right, and wrong is wrong. With that being said, let me also say I’ve read several feedbacks and agree with all of the accusations that others have made in regards to the Durham County Jail. Now I myself would like to shed some light on some of what my observations have come to see. Continue reading

‘Can’t keep writing because I’m low on cash’

Dear IOA,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your time and energy to write me, and also for the “feedback” newsletter. I’m overwhelmed to witness people like yourself and others who still care about us here in Durham County Hell. I’m also passing the newsletter around the pod and I can say that some of the guys are interested and wanted to share their story also. Continue reading

‘Boria has endangered the lives of everyone’

To: Everyone out there                                                                                                        CC: Personal files

From: Pod 3D

Date: Feb 29, 2016

Re: Violations of Inmate Rights that has been protected by the Constitution and state law

We are respectfully reporting that officer Erick Boria has intentionally and willfully violated the unlawful and professional conduct at a workplace policy, which was put in place to form a more perfect union at a workplace, so we may secure the blessings of liberty and justice while waiting on the court process.

Officer Boria has violated the order by imposing vindictive retaliation, creating a hostile and unsafe environment that has put the inmates at high risk of losing complete control and failure to respond reasonably and respectable to perform his job description in a professional and suitable manner. These findings are as follows:  Continue reading