‘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

This May Day: Smash the Durham Jail and Prisons Everywhere

This May Day: Smash the Durham Jail and Prisons Everywhere

On Friday, April 29, Inside-Outside Alliance and Triangle Area Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) invite you to stand in support of prisoners organizing against the racist violence of the Durham County Jail, the Durham Community’s struggle for an independent jail investigation, and prisoners on strike in Alabama and Texas, who are calling for a national strike starting September 9. Meet at 6:00 in Central Park and march to the jail. Continue reading

“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.”

G___,

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.

  • _____

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