‘This is a mean business, a money game’

June 29

Power Comrade –

Hope all is well. As for myself I am in good spirits, considering my current situation. As for my health, I run and do yoga daily so my health is fair. This “capitalist machine” profits off of poverty. We have to teach the comrades in here the law, that’s the “capitalist machine’s” biggest weapon. In order for us to stand up and fight we need law material.  – Power

Unafraid of the consequences

July 1, 3 am

Power Comrade —

The people our youth admire are addicted to drugs. It’s important that we pay attention to the youth because they think these stars, actors and rappers are special. The youth think that these entertainers have something they don’t, and this is not true. Every human has it, we have to re-educate the youth, and help them find their purpose. Continue reading

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‘How can you beat a capitalist machine bent on mass incarceration?’

June 2016

Comrade,

How are you, hope all is well? I received your letter in good spirits. What you and the Inside-Outside Alliance are doing is beautiful. I was starting to think nobody cared. These institutions that house the mentally ill and the poverty-stricken need to be stopped. But how can you beat a capitalist machine, which has unlimited resources, and is bent on mass incarceration? Sometimes it scares me to think how evil these people are. We’re dealing with a lot of illiteracy in places like this, all over the country, but in the south it’s the worst. The publications that circulate through places like this are destructive and deal in destructive behavior. There’s no dictionaries, no law books, nothing, how can I fight for my life?

Vanguard

Comrade NoFace

Peace-War

The First Five Grieving Committee: Who We Are, What We Stand For

March 18, 2016 Friday

We, as members of the First Five Grieving Committee of the Durham County Jail is sending to you an introduction letterhead or introduction cover letter to let you know who we are, what we stand for and what we are about: this letterhead could have been typed and/or Xeroxed, but the detention officers have told us that they do not want to play any part of helping us or assisting us in any way concerning our group or committee:  so if it is within your power, can you please send us 20-30 copies back through the mail, and if you can, can you have it typed, too.

We need all the assistance we can, at least, from the outside (Feedback)!! We would also like a copy of your Feedback Newspaper given to us regularly, if that is within your power. If there is other resources and addresses or agencies to help us, please send that information to us. We are a committee that is representing all races of people, whether it be Afro-American, whites, Hispanic, etc. There are several things we are grieving about during our stay at this Durham Detention Facility. In this letter, we would like to address some of those grievances to you, so that you may know, ‘first-hand’ what’s going on with us in this detention center. Continue reading

Just. Like. You.

the inmate wrote this specifically for the jail protest, and was originally read in front of the jail on 7/10/15.

To those will truly listen,

I am an inmate at the Durham County Jail and have been for 16 months. But for one brief moment please do not see me as just an inmate. For one breath see me as a son, or a father, an uncle, or brother. See me as our forefathers saw me when they drafted the constitution. For it doesn’t matter if I am innocent or guilty, black or white, male or female. I am a person…Just. Like. You.

The reason why I bring my plea to you today is because I and 600 other people just like me are being mistreated everyday–right in your backyard. For most of us we don’t have thousands of dollars for expensive attorneys or strong political connections to help our voice be heard. To most people we are inmates–we do not deserve to be heard, and any mistreatment we receive we do deserve.

Hopefully you are amassed today because you actually care about the treatment of people. If so, then I share with you today the injustices in Durham County Jail.  Continue reading

‘Nothing short of prayer and force…’

IOA,

You know, — months ago when I first got locked up in Durham County Jail I would hear other inmates complain about the jail and I would say that it wasn’t that bad. “It’s jail, it’s not supposed to be summer camp.” I would hear other inmates complain about the mail and hear them say that the jail was tampering with their mail. I would shake my head and laugh at their unfounded paranoia. — months later, things have changed.

Durham County Jail seems to basically do whatever the hell they want to do at any given time. I recently found out the sheriff, and ultimately the jail, is a “constitutional office that doesn’t answer to other arms of local government.” So basically it doesn’t matter that we all know the indecencies and crimes they are committing—it’s basically: “What you gonna do about it?” Continue reading

What We Believe. What We Want.

What We Believe. What We Want. / Lo que creemos. Lo que queremos.

ver más abajo para español

 A statement from Inside-Outside Alliance and friends & family members with loved ones locked inside the Durham County Jail

To sign on in support of this statement, go here.

 

In early March of 2015, Sheriff Michael Andrews implemented an ongoing lockback inside the Durham County Jail, with prisoners held in their cells for 24-48 hours at a time. Prisoners used to be allowed out of their cells for at least six and a half hours per day, but under the lockback they have been allowed out of their cells first for 6, then for 8 hours per week, drastically reducing their time for exercise, showers, socializing, and contacting their loved ones and lawyers. There have been multiple, unreported suicide attempts since the lockback began. On May 18th, in direct response to weekly protests outside the jail, and continued resistance inside, the Sheriff announced that the jail would begin enforcing a daily “detainee walk schedule.” This piecemeal rollback of what are decidedly inhumane punishment practices is unacceptable. Sheriff Andrews professes that his “primary concern” is for the “safety of staff and detainees.” He claims that the lockback measures “were implemented for the safety of all.”

 

We reject Sheriff Andrews’ understanding and practice of safety, and we invite others to do so with us. Safety does not look like extreme isolation; poor nutrition; medical neglect; unsanitary cells; restricted contact with loved ones; denial of reading materials; or lack of educational and vocational opportunities. These “safety measures” implemented by Sheriff Andrews and jail staff do not reduce violence. They create violence.

 

We believe safety comes from having meaningful connections to loved ones. We believe safety is generated when people are treated with dignity. We desire a Durham where safety looks like joy, interdependence, and mutual care, rather than walls, cages, and banishment. We dream of, and dare to struggle for a Durham where no one is treated as a criminal and no one person’s safety is dependent upon the exile of another, and we invite others to do so with us.

 

Toward that end:

 

  1. We demand an immediate end to the lockback: restore full recreational time for all inmates to at least what it was before March 6. Under no circumstances shall such collective punishment be meted out in the future.
  2. We want an independent investigation of the jail led by a team of doctors, lawyers, mental health providers, nutritionists, and Durham residents. These individuals should in no way be affiliated with the Sheriff’s office, the County, or the City, and they should be guided in their investigation by their fields of expertise, by grievances filed by people inside, letters written by inmates about their conditions, and the demands stated here. Inquiry shall include, but not be limited to the following: e coli and other foodborne hazards; temperatures throughout the jail; nutritional value of food served; price gouging by contractors (Paytel and Aramark); and stolen property. The full findings of this group shall be published widely.
  3. We want an end to medical abuse and neglect: all prisoners should have free, meaningful access to health care. This includes a timely response to health-related concerns, mental health services, and access to all prescribed medications.
  4. We demand that inmates have full access to writing and reading materials at all times. All prisoners should have access to pens, pencils, and paper, and a well-stocked library. They should be able to receive books mailed in by authorized publishers and book distributors.
  5. We want jail officials to uphold the right to religious freedom. All prisoners, regardless of their faith practices, have a constitutional right to religious freedom. Jail officials should in no way interfere with or limit this practice.
  6. We want all mail to be delivered to prisoners or properly returned. If a piece of mail is rejected, jail officials are required by law to return the mail to sender with a stated reason for return. Further, the intended recipient should be notified of the mail being returned to the sender, to allow the inmate to appeal the censorship.
  7. We demand an end to the extraction of fees from inmates and their families and friends. Prisoners should not have to pay for medical care or phone calls, nor should their loved ones be charged a convenience fee for paytel services or for adding money to prisoners’ canteen accounts.
  8. We want visitation to be flexible, accessible, and in person. Prisoners and their loved ones should be allowed face-to-face visits multiple times a week for at least thirty minutes. Loved ones should be able to schedule a visit via phone, in person, or online. We reject outright the planned implementation of video visitation at the jail.
  9. We want prisoners to have access to meaningful educational and vocational opportunities while in the jail. In order to avoid perpetuating a cycle of violence, the jail needs transformative activities for prisoners.
  10. We demand that inmates be spoken to and listened to with respect and that they take part in decision making as it relates to the conditions of their confinement. Inmates must be fully informed of all matters that affect them, both individually (e.g. court dates, visits, and transfers) and collectively (e.g. changes to policy) in a timely, consistent manner and in their native language. Further, pod councils should be formed in order so that inmates can play a part in decision making and the dissemination of information in the jail.

Further, with the clear goal of drastically reducing the jail population immediately, we make these demands:

 

  1. Abolish bail. Most of the 500+ people locked inside the jail are pre-trial detainees and pose little to no flight risk. They, their families, and the community benefit from their being home, not in jail. Bail is a regressive penalty that disproportionately impacts people of color, low-income people, and people with mental illness.

 

  1. Prioritize the employment of  formerly incarcerated and convicted people. Formerly incarcerated and convicted people face many barriers to employment. Durham County can take one meaningful step to alleviate this barrier by passing a policy that gives preference in county contracts to business that employ formerly incarcerated and convicted people.

 

We offer the above statement as a grouping of people who have come together around the lockback, but who understand the problems with the jail run deeper. Some of us are abolitionists, and make no bones about it. As such, we stand humbly in the great tradition of such people as Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips and John Brown. We also are family members of people in jail, and simply want better for our people. We are also community folks and formerly incarcerated people. We make the above statement in the context of the present lockback conditions, and as a way to give voice to the desires expressed by people inside and outside frustrated with a system that provides little liberty or justice. The articulation of these desires is made for the here and now, and should not be taken to be the sum total of what we want, now or in the future. Rather, we put them forward as merely a starting point, recognizing that a movement of many more people (especially including inmates themselves) will carry this statement well beyond what it is and perhaps into the realm of a truly emancipatory project. We embrace that prospect fully.

Lo que creemos. Lo que queremos.

Un comunicado del Inside-Outside Alianza y amigos y familias con sus seres queridos encerrados en la cárcel del condado de Durham

A principios de marzo de 2015, el Sheriff Michael Andrews implementó un encierro, o “lockback”, dentro de la cárcel del condado de Durham, con los prisioneros detenidos en sus celdas durante 24-48 horas a la vez. Antes, permitían a los presos salir de sus celdas para seis y media horas cada día, pero bajo el lockback, primero, les permitieron salir de sus celdas para 6 horas, y ahora les permite salir 8 horas por semana, lo que reduce drásticamente su tiempo para hacer ejercicio, duchas, socializar, y ponerse en contacto con sus seres queridos y abogados. Ha habido varios intentos de suicidio que no han denunciado, desde que comenzó el lockback. El 18 de mayo, como consecuencia de las protestas semanales fuera de la cárcel, y la continuación de la resistencia en el interior, el Sheriff anunció que la cárcel se iniciaría la aplicación de un diario “horario de paseo para los detenidos.” Esta reducción fragmentada de estas prácticas de castigo que son decididamente inhumanas es inaceptable. Sheriff Andrews declara que su “principal preocupación” es la “seguridad del personal y los detenidos. “Declara que “se llevaron a cabo el lockback por la seguridad de todos.”

Rechazamos la comprensión y la práctica de la seguridad de sheriff Andrews, e invitamos a otros a hacer lo mismo con nosotros. Seguridad no se parece a un aislamiento extremo; la mala alimentación; t descuido médico; células insalubres; contactos restringidos con seres queridos; negación de materiales de lectura; o la falta de oportunidades educativas y vocacionales. Estas “medidas de seguridad”, implementado por el Sheriff Andrews y el personal de la cárcel no disminuyen la violencia. Crean la violencia.

Creemos que la seguridad viene de tener conexiones significativas a sus seres queridos. Creemos que la seguridad se genera cuando las personas estén tratadas con dignidad. Deseamos un Durham donde la seguridad se ve como la alegría, la interdependencia, y el cuidado mutuo, en lugar de paredes, jaulas, y el rechazo. Soñamos con, y se atreven a luchar por un Durham donde se trata a nadie como un criminal y la seguridad de ninguna persona depende del exilio de otro, e invitamos a otros a hacer lo mismo con nosotros.

Con ese fin:

  • Exigimos el fin inmediato del lockback: una restauración completa del tiempo de ocio para todos los presos al nivel que se solían tener antes del 6 de Marzo. En ningún caso, no se debe repetir este tipo de castigo colectivo en la cárcel en el futuro.
  • Queremos una investigación independiente de la cárcel dirigida por un equipo de médicos, abogados, proveedores de salud mental, nutricionistas, y los residentes de Durham. Estas personas no deben estar afiliadas a la oficina del sheriff, el Condado o la Ciudad de ninguna manera, y ellos deben usar sus áreas de práctica, los reclamos presentados por personas en el interior, cartas escritas por presos sobre sus condiciones, y las exigencias declaradas aquí, para guiar su investigación. Su interrogación debe incluir, pero no limitarse a los siguientes: riesgos de E-coli y otras enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos; las temperaturas por toda la cárcel; el valor nutricional de los alimentos que se sirven; la escalada de precios por parte de contratistas (Paytel y Aramark); y el robo de propiedad. Los resultados completos de esta investigación se publicarán ampliamente.
  • Queremos terminar con el abuso y la negligencia médica: todos los presos deben tener acceso libre y significativa a atención médica. Esto incluye una respuesta oportuna a las inquietudes relacionadas con la salud, servicios de salud mental, y el acceso a todos los medicamentos recetados.
  • Exigimos que los presos tengan pleno acceso a materiales de escritura y lectura en todo momento. Todos los presos deben tener acceso a las plumas, lápices y papel, y una biblioteca bien surtida. Se debe permitir a los presos recibir libros enviados por los editores y distribuidores de libros autorizados.
  • Queremos que los funcionarios de la cárcel respeten el derecho a la libertad religiosa. Todos los presos, independientemente de sus prácticas religiosas, tienen el derecho constitucional a la libertad religiosa. Funcionarios de la cárcel no deben interferir o limitar esta práctica de ninguna manera.
  • Queremos que todo el correo sea entregado a los presos o debidamente devuelto. Si una carta está rechazada, la ley requiere que funcionarios de la cárcel devuelvan el correo al remitente con una razón explicita para el regreso. Además, se debe notificar al destinatario que se devolvieron su correspondencia al remitente, para permitir que el preso pueda apelar la censura.
  • Exigimos el fin de la extracción de pagos de los presos y sus familias y amigos. Los presos no deberían tener que pagar por la atención médica o de teléfono, ni si sus seres queridos se cobrará una cuota de conveniencia para los servicios de Paytel o para añadir dinero a las cuentas de cantina de los presos.
  • Queremos que la visita sea flexible, accesible, y en persona. Se debe permitir que los presos y sus seres queridos tengan visitas cara a cara varias veces a la semana que duran al menos treinta minutos. Los seres queridos deben ser capaces de programar una visita a través del teléfono, en persona o en línea. chazamos de plano la aplicación prevista de la visita por vídeo en la cárcel.
  • Queremos que los presos tengan acceso a las oportunidades educativas y vocacionales significativas, mientras que estén en la cárcel. Para evitar la perpetuación de un ciclo de violencia, la cárcel debe ofrecer actividades transformadoras para los presos.
  • Exigimos que todo el personal de la cárcel hablara y escuchara con respeto a los presos y que ellos participen en el proceso de decidir cuándo se relaciona a las condiciones de su confinamiento. Se debe informar a los presos de todos los asuntos que les afectan, tanto a nivel individual (por ejemplo, fechas de corte, visitas y traslados) y colectiva (por ejemplo, cambios en la política) de una manera oportuna, consistente y en su idioma nativo. Además, se debe formar un consejo para cada pod, para que los presos pueden desempeñar un papel en la toma de decisiones y la difusión de información en la cárcel.

Además, con el claro objetivo de reducir drásticamente la población presa de inmediato, hacemos estas exigencias:

  1. La abolición de lafianza.La mayor parte de las más de 500 personas encerradas dentro de la cárcel son detenidos en espera de juicio que no constituyen ningún riesgo de fuga. Ellos, sus familias, y la comunidad se benefician de su ser en casa, no en la cárcel. La fianza es un impuesto regresivo que afecta de manera desproporcionada a las personas de color, las personas con bajos ingresos, y personas con enfermedad mental.
  1. Dar prioridad a la contratación de personas previamente encarcelados y condenados.Las personas anteriormente encarceladas se enfrentan a muchos obstáculos para el empleo. Condado de Durham puede dar un paso significativo para paliar esta barrera al pasar de una política que da preferencia en los contratos del condado a los negocios que emplean ex encarcelados y condenados personas.

Ofrecemos la declaración anterior como un grupo de personas que se han unido en terminar el lockback, pero que entienden los problemas con la cárcel son más profundos. Algunos de nosotros somos abolicionistas, y no andamos con rodeos en esto. Como tal, estamos humildemente en la gran tradición de la gente como Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, y John Brown. También somos miembros de las familias de personas en la cárcel, y simplemente queremos mejor para nuestro pueblo. También somos la gente de la comunidad y las personas previamente encarceladas. Hacemos la declaración anterior en el contexto de las presentes condiciones de lockback, y como una forma de dar voz a los deseos expresados por las personas al dentro y afuera que están frustrados con un sistema que proporciona poca libertad ni la justicia. La articulación de estos deseos se hace para el aquí y ahora, y no debe tomarse como la suma total de lo que queremos, ahora o en el futuro. Más bien, les presenta como un mero punto de partida, reconociendo que un movimiento de muchas más personas (especialmente incluyendo los presos ellos mismos) llevará esta declaración mucho más allá de lo que es y tal vez en el ámbito de un proyecto verdaderamente emancipador. Recibimos esa perspectiva con los brazos abiertos.

For ongoing information on how to support: www.amplifyvoices.com / Facebook: Inside-Outside Alliance

“I could go on for days about living conditions…”

What’s up,

Thanks for taking the time out to write me. First let me start by telling you a bit about me. My name is S. A., born on Black Thursday, the second stock market crash. I’m from NJ but I’ve lived in Durham since around Sept. 2000. I graduated around March 2008 from an academy. ..In April 2008 I enlisted in the US Army with a 20 thousand dollar bonus for 3 yrs 16 weeks as an infantry man. I was stationed in AK. I’ve been through one year of combat during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I’m very much interested in learning and I love to read. I’m mostly a sci/fi/fantasy type. My whole purpose in joining the army was to earn money to go to college to be an automotive engineer.

I very much appreciate you writing even though you’re a stranger you seem more familiar, because when you’re in a place like this a lot of things are welcome. Continue reading