This too shall pass

04/03/2017

Included with this beautiful drawing:

Please,

Ebony Fields was in the STARR program in Durham. She was transferred to Wake County for about 50 days. She knew Uneice “Neicey” fennell who died here in Durham at the jail on Marc 23rd. Ebony drew this in her memory and asked me to forward it o you for possible publication in the IOA.

Thanks so much

Epson_04162017_115252

 

“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.

To lay Niecey to rest, we must never let the sheriff rest

Two weeks after her death in the Durham County Detention Center, Uniece “Niecey” Fennell will be memorialized at a funeral service for her family and friends today, Thursday, April 6. Although her mother is glad to have her daughter’s body near her now (and is appreciative to those who have donated), this day will bring no solace or peace. And that is because there are many more questions than answers surrounding Niecey’s death on March 23. Seeing Niecey’s body in person has left her mother, Julia Graves, more convinced than ever that, with the bruising all over her body, she was beaten and that the state of her body is not consistent with that of a hanging, as the jail asserts happened. Niecey’s mother believes “it was not a suicide.”  The jail, through its various media mouthpieces, has been able to get away with asserting that a detention officer that had given Niecey a particularly hard time had resigned two weeks before an email her lawyer sent Major Couch about the abusive behavior. The only problem with this narrative? The email exchange between Niecey’s attorney and Couch and his legal advisor, Curtis Massey, does not actually name an officer. Not exactly artful liars, this bunch.

Although the NC chief medical examiner’s autopsy has not been completed yet, Julia is not confident that it will tell the entire story. How closely does the CME work with detention officials? Why was Uniece’s body moved by the jail to a funeral home in Durham so soon after her death, and before her mother was aware of it and well before she signed off on releasing it? How come no one from the jail has contacted her to let her know what she should expect and when she should expect it regarding the autopsy?

Due to all these questions, and many, many more, Julia would like to pay for a second, independent autopsy in order to gain some closure and in order to hold the sheriff’s office and jail officials responsible for Niecey’s death. Thus, please keep the donations coming in to help pay for the second autopsy. Share the following link as widely as possible:

Bringing Niecey Home to Rest

No donation is too small.

If you’re in Durham, come out this Sunday:

Cookout Fundraiser: Justice for Niecey

 

R.I.P. Niecey. Justice for: Niecey. We love you, Niecey.