I’ll be damned
If I would
Stand and Show
And its flag
Why stand and worship
Give a damn
About my black ass Continue reading
I’ll be damned
If I would
Stand and Show
And its flag
Why stand and worship
Give a damn
About my black ass Continue reading
Dear G___, ___, and the IOA Family,
Got your letter today with copy of July 17 Feedback enclosed. Thanks a million. I enjoyed reading both. Wish I could have appeared at that meeting with you guys before the City Fathers/Mothers (smile). I wish even more for the ability to take and send pictures of these trifling meals ABL provides us. Portion sizes are ridiculous! My 5 year old grandson would be truly upset. It’s even worse when they provide meals in the 3 slot styrofoam trays like they did for lunch and supper today.
For lunch we had sloppy Joes. They (ABL) half filled one of the two smaller slots with meat sauce, put cole slaw in the front large spot, french fries in the 2nd smaller slot and added a bun. For supper we had apple sauce in one of the smaller slots, baked sliced potatoes w/ very sparse ground meat (probably leftover hot dogs from July 4th) and a piece of bread. We are all praying they get ousted next month.
I can hardly wait to get out to help join in this fight! Too often detainees will get out of jail and/or prison and soon forget about the many injustices they’ve had to endure and that those left behind continue to suffer. Reminds me of how Pharoah’s cupholder forgot about Joseph for some years until Pharoah needed his dream interpreted. This thing is very personal with me and I will not forget.
Court went well on June 14th. The Superior Court Judge denied all of the Sheriff’s attorney’s motions filed against me (motion to dismiss my complaints, motion to transfer my case from district to superior court).
We now head back to District Court on July 21st and I am gearing up for it. Anyone off that day is welcome to show up. If anyone does come, sit in the gallery on the side opposite of law enforcement. I have subpoenaed several Sheriff’s deputies and police officers and two magistrates to testify and none will like being there (smile).
I had some rather nice court victories last month. Back in 2012 three teens stole my Chrysler Sebring Convertible, went joy riding to Granville Counting and coming back, were seen and chased by Wake Forest Police in Capital Blvd. They wrecked and totaled my car, unknown to me for several months later, they racked up $488 in tolls. NC Quick Pass tried making me pay it and I refused. Then they added on processing fees and civil penalties and sent a collection agency after me in Dec 2016. They even blocked my vehicle registration (which is moot because I’m still in jail). That did it so I filed a petition for contested case hearing in the NC office of administrative hearings (OAH). Long-to-short, I won the case last month. I state spent well over $5,000 trying to force me to pay $488 plus $232.00 in penalties. That is so irresponsible of them.
I filed a petition for appointment of new defense counsel in Durham Superior Court on Feb 6, 2017 but Durham Officials ignored it after I even made several inquiries about it. In such cases a person can petition the NC Court of Appeals for what’s called a writ of mandamus to compel state actors to perform a duty owed to them. I did it and the court of appeals granted me petition on June 26th and I went to court yesterday where a Judge remanded my sorry lawyer Woodrena Baker-Harnell, over the Asst. DA’s (Cynthia Kenney) objection and I now await the appointment of new counsel. I also got a bond reduction petition filed and to be heard this month. The AOA also offered me a plea deal for 23 to 30 months that I declined. I’ve been in here 22 months on this illegal charge and I will fight it to the nth degree or until it is dismissed.
I also filed suit last month against the magistrate who issued the illegal warrant for my arrest. The hearing against her is to be made public and should take place sometime in August. The ADA is miffed about that, too. I – DON’T – CARE! They trample all over my rights but want me to practice stoicism and not complain. That will never happen!
The jail’s new, overpaid administrator, Colonel Prignano is not worth the almost $100k he is paid. He obviously knows nothing about how to effectively manage the jail’s mostly young populace. I and others have written and tried talking to him about making the 6pm local news and 6:30 world news mandatory. For some unexplained reason all TVs are turned off at 6:45 pm and we are locked into our ells for the night. However, shift change is not until 8:00 pm. It is so annoying to be watching the world news only to have the TVs turned off in the middle of it. Prignano’s reply to us was: “I don’t care about the TVs. They could take them out of the jail as far as I’m concerned.” Really…?
A few years ago some really gung how law and order state legislators felt the prisons were too plush, too soft on crime. They felt prisoners were being rewarded to be able to lift weights and watch color TVs. So they contemplated introducing a bill to ban weights and TVs from all prisons. That sparked a quick from prison administrators, who told the legislators they would resign if such an act became law. Why? Because prison administrators know that weights help burn off stress and overactive testosterone, and TVs is one of the most effective control devices in prisons. Those legislators quickly demurred. For Prignano to discard our request in such cavalier manner speaks to his lack of experience. His position ought to be eliminated to start with. Why would a jail of 550 people need a colonel making 97,800 a year plus a major and several captains all making over $70,000 a year? It’s insane and is a waste of tax dollars. One captain for each shift could effectively run the whole jail as is done in many jails statewide. The Sheriff’s budget is overloaded…at the top! Prignano is a mere puppet, good ole boy, who does whatever Notorious Andrews tells him to do. I guess that’s why Andrews did not want to hire and administrator from outside his department. All this cronyism is state and federal government just makes my stomach want to throw up!
The youth in here have nothing to do during lockback but yell back and forth to each other, bang on doors, table, sinks and windows while rapping, much to the dismay of their neighbors who are trying to read, think, or sleep. They need educational outlets badly. I’ve always heard that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Prignano could care less. He is in it for the paycheck and nothing else. I hope the Durham Association of Educators, along with Alerta Migratoria and IOA will coalesce to pressure the Sheriff to bring in educational opportunities beside GED for these up to 24 years old.
A lot of Hispanics are bilingual. Few US citizens speak any Spanish. I would have love taking Spanish clases these past 22 months in here and several Hispanics would love taking English classes.
I will pass the word around and look for good candidates to correspond with members of the Durham Association of Educators.
I am able to use my GTL prepaid phone card to call you guys sometimes. Is there a good contact # and time to call?
You all take care and continue the good fight.
Love in Christ,
PS: I’ve heard other officers say that Ms. Officer Snipes informs certain jail officials the names of detainees who correspond with IOA. Snipes is a trip. She and officer Richmond open and read all incoming (and some outgoing) mail. Neither are certified to do so. They gossip to other staff about what they read, too. Neither of them should be touching any mail as they are not certified!
May 30, 2017
ATTN: Chairwoman Wendy Jacobs
To: The Honorable County Commissioners
Durham County, North Carolina
I write and appeal to each of you who revere and fear the Lord God Almighty, to search your hearts and consciences and hear my complaints, and do your duty in Godly fashion. Keep in mind that as God has allowed you each to be in authority over how the Durham jail is operated, you each will be held accountable for whatever decisions you make when your every knee is bowed before Christ’s Judgement Throne to give an account of your life’s deeds.
We all can agree that jail is not a resort, and hardly anyone wants to be detained herein. But for those of us who are here, be we guilty or innocent of the charged offense(s), we should be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. Nevertheless, we also know that many abuses exist in jails nationwide and your office has the ability and duty to curb and put an end to such improprieties in the Durham County Jail. If not, then such violations and abuses will continue to exist with your Board’s imprimitur.
What is the purpose of video visitation? The Sheriff claims it’s only an alternative – not a replacement – to face-to-face visits. If that’s true, then it would be advantageous to those who live hundreds of miles away and out of state, provided they can utilize Skype or some other home computer video to implement such visits.
I believe most detainees’ families live in or near Durham. If these family members are relegated to coming to the jail, only to sit before a monitor downstairs to see and communicate with us through another monitor upstairs, that would be a travesty of justice, an unnecessary invasion of privacy on our visits, and a waste of tax dollars.
Instinct and history tells me that video visitation is not going to be an alternative form of visitation. Rather, due time, face-to-face visits will be phased out to give the Sheriff a captive audience to charge exorbitant fees for visits. Otherwise, why try to fix what’s not broken?
For the most part, detainees in jail ahve not been convicted of any crime. Under our system of jurisprudence, we are supposed to be deemed innocent until we are proven guilty. But in reality, this jail treats us in opposite fashion with this Board’s seal of approval.
Our mail is unlawfully censored daily, particularly by a black female officer named Snipes. Too often she sits in the hallway outside the programs office opening and reading our incoming letters, line-by-line, on both sides of each page. She does this to every letter her hand touches in the name of “security.” She is just nosy as can be and knows she can get away with this abuse of authority. She is not authorized to even touch our mail.
Likewise, our telephone calls are all recorded and are vetted by law enforcement to include the District Attorney’s office. We don’t get to listen to the Sheriff’s and DA’s conversations and strategies concerning us, so why should they have this unfair advantage to hear ours? Our most intimate conversations are violated by jail officials – telephone calls that cost us or our families an arm and a leg to utilize. And now, the Sheriff wants to record our personal visits and charge this captive audience ridiculous prices for that too. When will this Board put a stop to “Big Brother’s” abuses upon our privacy rights? We are detainees – not convicted felons.
If we could afford bond, many of us would not be subjected to these privacy rights abuses. We could talk unimpeded with absolute privacy to our attorneys and loved ones. Simply because we cannot afford these staggeringly high and needlessly excessive bonds, the Sheriff is permitted to fleece our families and us in a myriad of senseless for-profit schemes.
CAPTIVE AUDIENCE ABUSES
Just a few years ago sheriffs did not outsource canteen and telephone services provided to detinees. They provided such services themselves, just as the NC Dept of COrrection continues to do today (canteen services) at a 15% to 25% markup.
Allowing the Sheriff to outrsource canteen services, as well as our daily meals, invites abuse. Rather than go with the vendor who offers the most reasonable products at the most savings to detainees (and our struggling families and friends who sacrifice to help support us), the Sheriff readily rejects them. Why? It’s all about greed and profit. The Sheriff wants a 50% kickback off of every canteen item sold to us! In all other entities, this practice is called illegal price gouging. Here again, your Board is well aware of this unconscionable practice, yet turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to it.
Detainees are already deprived of their freedom and lose income, held by excessive bonds. Why would any fair-minded person want to exacerbate our hardships by imposing grossly inflated canteen prices on us for the most generic brand items, e.g. one square packaged Ramen Noodle soup costs us $0.82, yet you can buy these same soups 6 for $1.00 at any Food Lion or Dollar Tree and they still make a profit selling at such price.
There is supposed to be a service fee of $1.00 for a pre-paid GTL telephone card. A $10.00 card plus $1.00 service fee is supposed to cost us $11.00 total, or $21.00 for the $20.00 GTL card, but we are charged a whopping $7.00 service fee (profit) for each, having to pay $17.00 for a $10.00 card and $27.00 for the $20.00 card. This is highway robbery and this Board’s sense of propriety surely knows this.
Hebrews 13:17 states in pertinent part: Obey your leadrs and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who MUST given an account. I implore you each to depart from politics and from doing business as usual and do what is godly and righteous. Jesus is often quoted to say: when you have done this (whatever you do) unto the least of these, you have done it unto me, Matthew 25:35-40.
It’s easy to shun those in jail and to care more about appearances to your constituents. But you each will pay a steep penalty if you fail to exercise the God-given authority you have been entrusted. If your conscience has not been seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2) then you will do what is just and equitable.
Please put a stop to the Sheriff’s abuse of the canteen system. The annual budget your office approves for the Sheriff’s office is more than sufficient for all of its needs; in fact, it’s excessive. The Sheriff should not be allowed to operate any “for profit” program against his detainee charges. Again, such practice invites abuse administratively and monetarily.
The Sheriff’s office and Jail are stacked with excess employees; it’s like a huge welfare system. Many of the jail’s detention staff are obese, out of shape, cannot promptly respond to emergencies and are paid well over $50 and 60 thousand dollars a year, a total waste of tax payers’ money, who sit in an office all day. A lot of Pod officers are overweight, too.
There needs to be a qualitative management program put into effect for several reason. All overweight personnel’s names should be placed on a list requiring mandatory weight loss over a specified period of time or be terminated.
A time-in-motion study should also be conducted to get rid of excessive personnel. Too many people are assigned to do the same job but only few do the actual work. I say this in all sincerity: you could reduce the actual personnel in the Sheriff’s department by 33 and 1/3% and get an increase in production by 50% by requiring the remaining staff to do their jobs. A lot of cuts need to be made at the top in administrative and longevity positions, who demand the lion’s share of salaries. If they had comparable jobs in the private sector they would have long ago been terminated for failure to produce, and their redundant job slots would have been eliminated.
There are ample people here at the jail who could easily operate the canteens (as Wake County Jail Sheriff’s staff do) to eliminate the existing price-gouging practice. The same applies to the kitchen. If our military can train and provide its own cooks, why doesn’t the Sheriff’s office still provide this service? It would certainly help reduce contraband from entering in by private vendors providing such services and would reduce costs.
Let me comment on the new ABL management group that was hired 9 months ago. ABL promised to improve the quality of our food by leaps and bounds provided they were paid the additional money demanded.
The first two weeks ABL came on board we were provided fresh bananas for breakfast on Saturdays, and then that stopped. We still get grits or oatmeal (without sugar) each morning – no meat – but a turkey sausage gravy on Fridays. The only improvement we see is the cheap plastic bag of milk we get daily and the elimination of soy producets. We get a lot of moulded apples and oranges, no fish products at all, and maybe 3 times we have received some tough-to-chew greens. The lack of fresh vegetables causes a lot of skin disorders. We also get lots of unpalatable cole slaw and wilted lettuce as poor substitutes for green leafy vegetables.
Had Aramark been given the same amount of money as ABL, we would be provided more wholesome meals. Aramark did give us baked chicken for our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. After many complaints, ABL gave us baked chicken on New Year’s only. ABL likes to feed us patties for lunch and supper, with wilted lettuce and baked potato fries and molded fruit as a whole meal. That might work for teens and kids but not for adults
Why is it difficult for us to get dry cereal like corn flakes, bran or rice krispies or something similar to them? Why can’t we buy a salad tray for $2.00 as ABL sells to staff – a salad that is wholesome and contains fresh veggies and meat? It’s punitive to deny us a mere chef’s salad.
Why are we not served any fish products ever by ABL? What happened to the fish sandwich that schools and even prisons serve? ABL is as greedy as they can be. They put excessive salt in food items that we often cannot eat. And when we complain, they get an attitude or claim to still be training cooks! And why do they put nasty tasting stewed tomatoes in scrambled eggs?
Lastly, jail officials put too much emphasis on sports and entertainment on the jail’s TVs. Every morng when TVs come on at 9 am, they are automatically placed on channel 31, ESPN, for an hour or more. At noon they watch TMZ, a celebrity entertainment news program.
TVs are supposed to be on Univision from 5pm to 6pm for Hispanics and from 6pm till 7pm for the local and world news. But too often staff will not turn TVs to the news, catering ot the youths’ desire to watch videos, gangsta movies, and other incorrigible programs.
The jail has all but cut out newspapers for us to stay informed – a constitutional violation. We get one newspaper a week if we get to go to the library on our scheduled day to read it. We should get newspapers daily, as well as get to watch local and world news.
Commissioners, why don’t y’all make surprise visits to the jail during lunch and supper time so you can see for yourselves what is being provided us to eat? Visit the pods so you can see what is on our food trays. The Sheriff is only going to show you the good food items ABL provides for staff to eat.
These problems will continue to fester and become more systematic until you each say “ENOUGH” and put a stop to it. Please make some positive changes. Give the food contract back to Aramark (with the same money you now give to ABL) until the jail takes this responsibility back. Thank you.
PS: your office controls the Sheriff’s budget. You thus have a lot of influence as to what occurs in the Sheriff’s office. So use it!
Thoughts on Paper: How Can I?
How can I hope for a change when no one else notices anything wrong with their conditions? I cannot try to bring upon a social revolution nor an economic change if everyone’s content with where they stand. How could I succeed?
It pains me that when I speak upon my dream and vision for revolution no one else (out of the other 20 people I am around in the hole) agrees with my thoughts. Continue reading
Dear Mr. W_______,
Thanks for the letter and n4. It came at a much needed time. I’m glad to hear there are concerned citizens who care about how the jail system is mis-run and mis-managed! It more often than not sends people worse off back into neighborhoods angry, hurt, and totally demoralized and at times animalistic! Its truly a system designed to oppress and exploit the lesser, poorer persons in society, 1. high bonds, 2. wrong search and seizures at homes (my house was trashed and 1100 dollars stolen), 3. very poor sleeping quarters (my dogs have better), 4. slop for food, 5. the cells are freezing while we get little clothing and blankets 5. husbands/wives should at least be allowed to visit if incarcerated at the same time (I fit that category, the family is the fabric of society), 6. they arrested us quickly and put us in cages, yet the legal process once here is slow and tedious, even the process of bond reduction takes weeks all the while people lose good jobs and families are damaged sometimes beyond repair. The jail system is a business of making money, not reform and helping most who may have made a bad choice or mistake become a better citizen, neighbor, co-worker, or friend (cuz that’s what 99% of us are!). I’m very glad to hear that our neighbors are getting educated and involved, cuz believe it or not…this could happen to any of us! And unless you have access to 10-50k your whole life could change forever and your family’s also. The phone situation is laughable, the grievance officers are simply yes people, as I’ve made several complaints and requests with zero results or even responses back. I thought in our legal system you’re innocent until proven guilty. Well that doesn’t appear to be the cause here. All and all its hard to believe this is happening in the United States of America.
Thoughts on Paper
The Effect of the Every Man for Himself Mentality
Separation that’s what Willie Lynch told slaveholders will control their slaves. Separation is why in the civil rights movement we only go but so far, only accomplishing integration but still not finding the solution for the Black man in America.
Separation is what brought down the conscious political movement, the Black Panther Party. Separation is the reason why today the race of my fellow African descendants are not an economical power in America after being here 300 years as slaves, 150 as freedmen. Willie Lynch said separate them, create self-hate with them, give some a little more good treatment than others (house nigga) and you’ll never have to worry about the general mass (field nigga). This separation was so deeply embedded that even today, those men who are in certain powerful positions in America with the influence to change things, look down upon those who “cause troubles,” they go out their way to show the white man “I deserve this position, and I’ll punish those who fuck up, I got it boss man!” With their fake smiles and upright posture they’re making harder on their own people while trying to get the thumbs up from the white man.
This right here is separation, the every man for himself mentality, and this mindstate is an ever-present affliction in the Afro-American culture. This mindstate is conveyed in rap lyrics, books, communities and conversations. This mindstate is the reason the Spanish (speaking people) came to America years after us and are now a more respected culture in America. This is the reason we are weak! Currently, I am an inmate in the Durham County Detention Facility, and you can see it so clearly here!
First example–in the day room there are 10 tables, majority of the pod is Afro-American, but yet tables are not joined up amongst each other, the only tables that are joined up is those that belong to a common organization, and the (Hispanics). When a new inmate comes in the pod he is first “‘ran down on” (see who you are, where you from, what you bang), then if he has fellow gang members in the pod he MAY get help, if not ,he’s left for dead. On the other hand, when the Spanish (speakers), white, or any other race, they stick together, no matter if out there in that world they’re mortal enemies. When they come in the block, they get food, shoes, hygiene, and anything else needed.
Second example–Durham County Detention Officers, now be aware I’m not sure of other facilities, but here I cannot discredit them, all but 8 of 10 d.o.s act as I’m finna tell you. They will appear to be your friend, attempt to win your favor, try to show you that they are from the struggle, too, that they are a ghetto success story. Well, if you get caught doing the smallest thing wrong they will report you, lock you back 23 and 1, and tell they supervisor “I got ’em boss. I told ya I’ma good one, No trouble on my watch, promote me boss man, I’ll take care of these disgraces!” Do you see the poison that’s been injected into our culture?! How can the village raise the child if the villagers aren’t friendly amongst themselves? This separation has become so common that they even have reality shows showing how our people are so brainwashed that instead of giving a helping hand we attempt to tear each other down on live TV. We must come together despite past issues, and rise up to become the leaders we were designed to be. First, we must get rid of our pride and ego, and realize without each other we only have those whose goal is to separate us further. Second, we must create a plan, a vision, on how we are going to break these mental chains and reform and become kings and queens again. Third, we need to change our culture, re-write what’s right and what’s wrong, put more positivity and economic, mental, physical, educational and spiritual development into the things we engage in for entertainment.
We must learn where this problem comes from, notice it in our day to day manner and kill it at the root. We must educate ourselves and find our personal niche and create businesses, which will create jobs, which will keep the money within the community, which will make the Afro-Americans an economic power. We must find our true religion, discard the one given to us by the same ones who enslaved us. We must look upon the oneness of God, discipline ourselves and set up expectations for those who follow!
Last but not least we must take care of our bodies, discard the mind-altering drugs, take up better diets, and work our bodies out to be able to overcome any physical obstacle! When we do this, and only when we do this will we break these 450 year-old chains of self-hate, self-oppression, self-doubt and separation. We speak upon change (we’ve been doing that since the reconstruction era), but yet we have yet to get rid of the old and bring in the new. Currently we are stuck, we must pull ourselves out of this hole and then lend a hand to the others below, so they may do the same, and so on and so on! If I can get help, get those who agree and believe in me to lend a hand we can be teaching others in the next new generation and we can break these chains within 15 years at the most.
“A man hasn’t truly believed until he wants for his brother what he wants for himself.”
Let’s take two steps and walk to a more better productive future for the Afro-American.
–Al-Muizz Al-Mumit El-Shabazz
It was good to receive your letter and the Vol 15 Feedback bulletin. I appreciate your concern, support and interest. As of my current state of mind, I remain optimistic though terribly heavy-laden. I am approaching 27 months of incarceration and have finally gotten close to getting my case resolved. Although I don’t wish to discuss any specifics of my charges, I will say I am glad to have this much time under my belt. The conditions I have experienced here have been ridiculous. It is a jail after all. It is not by any means a walk in the park. Finally they have stopped serving sandwiches at dinner time. I am not as hungry as I have been in the past months. I am being fed. This is good. Although it is not the best food and mostly starch, it fills the hole LOL. We still do not get to come out at nights around 9:00 p.m. like we did about a year ago, and that’s unfortunate. Basically I stay in my own lane and avoid as much calamity as possible. Sometimes living this way is difficult as trouble seems to find me from time to time.
I have managed to avoid disciplinary actions that have stemmed from disagreements I have had with fellow inmates and detention staff. It is a loud place. A place that you are not guaranteed a good night’s peace. You got people beating the walls and doors around you cancelling any chance of productive thought. It’s like people were raised in a barn. Some come in and never shower with their stinkin asses. Some shower and still stink. Let’s not get started on the toilet paper situation! Guards sometimes say, “We haven’t got a roll in the building.” That’s the biggest crock I’ve ever heard. Knowing good and well they have got stacks of it in the storage room. I have had a trying stay here, though. A few instances of the canteen messing up orders, the medical not being prompt, the mail arriving late, and recreation time being cut short or cancelled some days. I’m surviving…goin on…feelin strong. One thing I will say is that I desire the loving embrace of a woman. Loneliness envelops me. Anyhow…that’s neither here nor there. I do have a request that I hope you will be able to help me with. Enclosed is a photo (shown below) that I tore out of a feedback bulletin (issue 6). It is a photo I have had stuck to my wall for many months. If there is any way you could send me an enlarged copy or two, I would greatly appreciate it. I have looked at it daily and it has brought me peace (strangely enough). If you cannot print me an enlarged copy or two, could you please send this one back. I know this is a weird request lol. I plan on trying to draw this picture as I have been trying my hand at sketching. Thank you for taking the time to write me and for supporting us inmates locked down in this hellhole!
Brandon K Jayne