“I have no doubt it’s because of inmate petitions, IOA and the volunteers and the protesting in front of the jail. It seems like we are making some headway and things are starting to change.”


Thanks for the letter and the Feedback pamphlet.  I was the first person to receive the new April edition and it has been a hot commodity with everyone wanting a chance to read it.  As for me, I’m doing okay, just waiting for court dates for things to progress a bit faster.  Trying to be as patient as possible.

By the sounds of things, the IOA and the volunteers have been very busy this past month.  I wish I could have been present for the debate with Michael Page and Major Martin to hear their responses and the appropriate actions they are taking to everyone’s concerns regarding the jail.  I will say that after March 15 and for the past two weeks we have been receiving hot meals for dinner instead of cold bologna sandwiches, which has us all a bit shocked.  For the past 5 months it always been cold sandwiches and all of the sudden hot meals.  I have no doubt it’s because of inmate petitions, IOA and the volunteers and the protesting in front of the jail.  It seems like we are making some headway and things are starting to change.

I had a lengthy conversation with one of the CO’s this past week.  We were discussing the IOA and he told me that the Sheriff is starting to make changes and the food is not the only change to come.  Hopefully this is true and we will see here shortly.

There are plenty of things I could go into detail about but one of my concerns now is with the mail.  I have had recent problems with both outgoing and incoming mail.  In February I was notified by my family that my mail was opened and taped shut.  From that point on I started to secure each envelope so that if it was tampered with, it would be noticeable.  Again my family notified me that my mail continued to be opened.  The jail is only supposed to open outgoing mail if there is a threat to security or order of the jail and have probable cause to do so.  My mail should not be subject to this and there should be no probable cause to repeatedly open my mail.  Also, I am not being notified that my mail is being searched.  I questioned the mail services here regarding the issue and the only response I got from Mrs. Walker is that she doesn’t deal with outgoing mail and it being opened or searched.  Still today, I’m unsure why my mail was opened and searched.

Now, incoming mail is a similar problem.  Recently, I have been receiving scanned and printed copies of a national geographic magazine.  I was notified that magazines are contraband and my mail would be returned.  What I am receiving is not a magazine but what is similar to an article printed from the internet.  So now my mail is being censored and I am not allowed to receive National Geographic articles.  How is this contraband?  How can this possibly cause any threat or harm to the jail?  The only thing I can do is write a grievance to appeal their action to send my mail away and prevent me from receiving it.  Though it has been over a week and the sergeant has yet to reply to any of my concerns or problems.

Lastly, my family has also sent me bookmarks and puzzles in the mail.  I know this because they specifically mention them in the letters.  However, they are nowhere to be found within my mail.  This means that whoever is inspecting mail is taking these items out before giving me my mail.  Again, this is an example of them censoring mail.  What bothers me is they do so without your knowledge, without notifying you that they removed items from your mail.  There is no mention as to why it was censored or how it violates any regulations or policy.  I’m almost certain that if the jail censors your mail you should be notified of their actions so you are given the appropriate time to appeal that action.

So to answer your concern about mail from the IOA; I wouldn’t be surprised if incoming mail is being screened and censored or just blocked from being delivered, especially from IOA.  Much of the staff here do not like being within the newsletters or on the website to begin with.  Though, nothing is certain and it seems that I’m receiving your letters without difficulty.

Again, thanks for the letter and newsletter.  I look forward to hearing back from you and the IOA.  We do get to go to the “Library” every week or so and of course there is always a very limited selection.  I would never turn down an offer for a book, and I’m certain that many inmates here would also like it too.  Books are consistently shared among the Pod, especially if it is a good read.  My favorite authors are ____________ and ___________.  So far I’ve found “__________,” “__________,” and “__________” here in the library by ____________ and have read them.  I’ve also read “__________” and “__________” series by ___________.  I’m sure there are plenty of other books by these authors.  However, do not feel obliged to purchase any books, but of course it would be much appreciated.

  • _____

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

‘Thanks for letting us say what’s on our minds’



How are yall doing? I got to say Thank yall for what yall is doing. I like reading the newsletter and it be a lot of good things in there, too. Oh, and thank you and yall for (offering) to be in the court room for me, but I’m good, just keep do what yall do best. I go to court next month…

I’m ready to leave this fucked up jail behind and move on with life, you feel me? Continue reading

‘I watch inmates rush to take plea bargains’


First off I would like to thank you for writing me and for your concern in DCJ. I have been here for a while and being locked back 16 ½ hours a day can drive me crazy at times. On top of that they run the A/C all year round and only give us one blanket and yes, it’s freezing like hell. I’m not understanding—we already locked up, what more do they need? Continue reading

Quiero agradecerles/I want to thank you

Hola, soy H.V. (English below)

Recibi su carta. Quiero agradecerlese por las protestas y el esfuerso que acen ustedes para que este lugar horible y las personas que trabajan en el tengan un mejor trato para nosotros.

Aqui es muy dificil la vida, amigos. Algunos oficiales son buena gente pero ay otros que los tratan como animaales. El 2015 fue muy dificil porque abia beces que pasaban asta 3 dias sin papel de baño no podia acer mis necesidades. como resultado de esto me enferme de emoroidis estube 2 meses con esa enfermedad sufri mucho. Porque la medicina barata que me daban no me alludaba a mejorar.

Pero han mejorado un poco este año al menos papel de baño si tenemos siempre.

Nada es bueno aqui en esta carcel solo salimos 6 horas al dia y lo demas del tiempos estamos laquiados. La berda no entiendo porque en esta carcel asen eso con uno. Por ejemplo, en el condado Wake no laquean a los presos. en el condado Orange tampo laquean.

La comida esta orrible parese que fuera comida de perros tengo 7 meces de estar aqui y he comido sanguich de bolonia en la cena todos los dias.

Aqui hay much injusticia porque la comida que compra uno aqui esta bien cara. Por ejemplo una sopa instantania afuera valen 4 por un dolar pero qui estan a 82 centabos cada una. Esto no tiene sentido si aqui ni podemos trabajar mas bien dependemos de lo que nuestra familia nos da con mucha dificultad. Yo pienso que mas bien aqui adentro deberian de costar menos que afuera las cosas. Aqui esta gente se aprobechan de uno de toda forma pocible. Por una tarjeta de diez dolares tenemos que pagar 17 por una de 20 dolares teneos que pagar 27 esta gente injusta no se conforman con ganarse un par de dolares por tarjeta. Son unos desgraciados. Yo gracia a mi dios ya voy a salir de este lugar. Esta es mi primera bes que estoy tanto tiempo en este infierno y tratare de que sea la ultima.

Gracias con mucho cariño! Que dios los bendiga amigos!


English Translation

I got your letter. I want to thank you for the protests and the effort that you guys make for us so that this horrible place and the people who work here treat us better.

Here, life is difficult my friends. Some officers are good, but others treat us like animals. 2015 was a hard because there were times we spent three days without toilet paper, and I could not take care of my needs. As a result of this, I go sick with hemorrhoids, and I suffered from this for 2 months because the cheap medicine they were giving me did not help me get better.

But, things have improved here this year. At least we have toilet paper always.  Nothing is good here in this jail, we only get out 6 hours a day and the rest of the time we are on lockback. The truth is, I don’t get why in this jail they can do this to someone. For example, in Wake County they don’t do this, in Orange County they don’t do this.

The food is horrible and it seems like dog food. I have been here 7 months and I have eaten a bologna sandwich for dinner every day.

Here there is a lot of injustice because the food that you can buy is so expensive. For example, a instant soup outside sells for 4 for a dollar, but in here it is 82 cents for one. This doesn’t make sense, in here we can’t work, and we have to depend on what our family gives us with difficulty. I think that things in here should cost less than things outside. In this way, they take advantage of you in every way possible. For a 10 dollar card we have to pay 17, for a 20 dollar card we have to pay 27. These unfair people can’t be content without making a couple bucks off of every card. They are idiots. I, thank god, am going to leave soon. This is my first time that I spent so much time in this hell and I am going to try to make it the last.

Thanks you so much. May god bless you, friends.

Rise and Roar: From Inside the Jail and Into the Streets, We Say No More

from The Lion King Welcoming Committee of Inside-Outside Alliance:


The Lion King returns to DPAC for a month of shows beginning February 16 and running through March 20. A lot of money will flow through the city-owned performing arts center, and a lot of money will go to the Nederlander Organization, which runs the Broadway performances that come to DPAC. Meanwhile, just across Mangum Street, at the Durham County Jail, people continue to suffer and die from medical neglect. Less than a month ago, 29-year-old Matthew McCain died in his cell. Numerous accounts indicate that Matthew received poor medical care for his diabetes, and that he was not treated properly after an altercation he had with another inmate. He did not have to die. Nor did Dennis McMurray, a previously healthy 52-year-old man who died in the jail in January of 2015. Thirty-year-old Raphael Bennett died in the jail in August 2015 under unknown circumstances. The jail, and the sheriff’s department which runs it, has had little to say about these deaths and the repeated accounts of medical and nutritional neglect, as well as brutality and harassment by officers. They deflect questions and never take responsibility for anything. This needs to stop now. Continue reading

No More Jail Deaths! Demo and March this SATURDAY

All Out for Matthew McCain and Dennis McMurray!

2 pm meet at CCB Plaza (Corcoran/Parrish/Chapel Hill Sts) March to the Jailimage

Matthew McCain and Dennis McMurray were beloved fathers living in Durham, NC. They are just two examples of community members who have died due to medical neglect while locked up at the Durham County Jail. At least three people have died while in custody at the Durham County Jail in the last year. On top of that the Durham County Jail tried to cover up these deaths and purposefully ignored and misled Matthew and Dennis’s family members when they sought more information. On Saturday we say their names and demand an end to deaths at the Durham County Jail along with a full community led, independent investigation of the Jail. #JusticeforMatthew #JusticeforDennis#WeBelievePrisoners

Ashley and Matthew

‘Let’s pull this humongous tree by the root’

Hey brother,

I apologize about the other individuals that I promised to send toward you (with drawings), let’s say “I tried.” But to try is to fail, and with no super code that’s what I did. I am currently inside the hole for getting into a confrontation with someone twice, if not three, times my size. But that shows people I fight and stand for what I believe in.  Continue reading

‘I can’t even give a name to it…’

Jan 1st 2016


First off I want to thank you and all those that has been protesting for us every Friday. I also got in the window New Year’s Eve to watch you guys march. I honestly don’t know where to start! After reading the newsletter from the other inmates they pretty much narrowed it down. Continue reading

‘They need to SHUT THIS JAIL DOWN’

  • There’s no fresh air here nor any way to exercise!
  • The mats we sleep on are flat and dirty!


Thanks for protesting for us. The medical here is shit. They don’t help us. The food is not good, always cold and very unhealthy. The officers who work here treat us like shit, excuse my language. They talk to us like we’re dogs. The whole entire jail is nasty and unfit to live in. There’s no kind of schooling. It’s very cold in here year round. Continue reading