‘One can never have too many books’

August 5, 2014

Dear —

How are you doing? I’m doing alright myself. I’m really glad to receive your letter, and quite surprised when you sent me those three fantasy books. I wasn’t really making a request, but I really appreciate that one can never have too many books. I just went to court today, but the judge refused to unsecure my bond because of my status, but they say they got all the discoveries, so hopefully I’ll go to the trial and be out in a few months. Continue reading

Lockback for checking out law book

June 18, 2014

Got your letters today, along with the petitions I wrote…I appreciate the memo you gave on my first letter. I liked your nickname, Call to Arms, haha. Perhaps if you sent a copy of it in each letter you all send out people may want to take action. A few people talked to me today, they want to write you all letters which I’ll include. I liked the (earlier pencil ban) petition. It sounds more professional. Either way I want to get a around 30 people from each pod to send it out at once. Maybe once Major Couch gets frustrated of having a cluttered mailbox he will take action… Continue reading

‘My first encounter with law enforcement’

June 4, 2014

Dear (IOA),

How are you doing? Sorry it took me so long to write you back, R told me about Inside-Outside Alliance. I just want you to know that I really appreciate what you guys are doing, trying to help the folks in Durham County Jail. You might know that I’ve been here a year, to be honest with you this is my first encounter with Law Enforcement & Justice System. Continue reading

‘The state in its infinite wisdom’

…As to DCDC and mail…any news from NCPLS or NCACLU? …I think I sent you a case I had on mail correspondence: Wolff v. McDonnell…I believe that to be prevailing law on this issue…but without access to research materials I can’t know for sure. Speaking of which, enclosed is the response to my appeal of one of your correspondences to me. DENIED, but check out  the DATES. I had three days to choose what to do with it. Well, I didn’t get it until 3 days after the date!!! I can’t file a grievance because I’m grieving issues with medical right now (only 1 grievance at a time). Continue reading

Survey: ‘No time to see the sun’

How long have you been inside?

I have been inside 11.5 months.

How many court appearances have you had?

I have only had my probable cause hearing and my probation violation court date.

How many times have you talked to your lawyer?

I would have to say I seen my lawyer 13-15 times–at least once a month.

What is the situation regarding your charge? (Awaiting sentencing, awaiting trial, awaiting appearance, etc.?)

Awaiting sentence. They are talking they bringin Nick Yates of the District Attorney’s office about giving me a plea for 23 + 40 months.

Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it.

Yes, several times by the detention officers for proving them wrong on something or generally just cussing them out telling them how sorry they are and caught up on their powertrip. I also had a very serious incident with medical where I called on a emergency for my blood sugar and or my blood pressure and they made me wait 2 hours before a nurse came up and took no vital signs, no blood sugar, no blood pressure, no blood oxygen level and no heart rate.

What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? The lack of respect that the C.O.’s give inmates, especially the younger female officers who are more interested in the attention…if other male c.o.’s or inmates crowd and play to their egos. 

If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? Lack of movement and mixing of ages of inmates. No time to see the sun.

Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? Yes, my sons. The time frames in which they have to visit with school and work. It proves to be difficult. 

We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? Shitty, plain and simple. The nurses only want to chat it up with each other and eat and not be bothered but the Doctor Harrell is a bumbling fool that is only trying to get the max dollars out of it so they can give kick backs to the county for their contracts. 

We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? Truly think it is lacking in vitamins and also lacks the standards of state regulations. Tastes like cardboard. 

What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail? My opinion of the library is it is greatly disorganized. And your pushed through it in 10 minutes when you get a chance to go. Educational services are non-existent except for the STARR/GRAD program which is a great program with great people who need to be told about the good job they do and the people they help. 

What do you think of the c.o.’s? My opinion of the c.o.’s/d.o.’s are that some are here to do their jobs, others to bully and abuse their power that is given to them. Most  of them are or seem to be idiots. 

How do you get along with other prisoners? Mostly good…

How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? They do not affect my ability.

What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? The STARR/GRAD programs and the books that you have sent me (Thanks again!)

Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened? Many with medical and c.o’s and nothing happens.

Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? Yes, several and would sign more!!

Some DCDC prisoners have suggested the idea of a prisoners council that would participate in making decisions about things at the jail. What do you think of such an idea? It would be a good idea but the jail would never let it happen. Their favorite saying is this is our house, meaning the sheriff’s office and fuck what we think or want. Now, that being said there are a few exceptions to that rule. Mrs. Kim Evans, who is a c.o and officer Richmond and Sgt. Weaver and Sgt. Hodder. They generally care about the inmates and what they can do for them within their power. 

How could it work? What would it look like? Full page needed for this one. You would have to have elected 2 inmates per pod by the inmates in that pod who they would want to represent them. On issues such as supplies: toilet paper, envelopes, such and so forth and any additional problems each pod is having. As well, I would think that us inmates should vote on the detention officers that should be on the panel as well so we would have a better chance of constituting change in the jail. As far as pay for inmates and hygiene for inmates and quality of things in the jail. 

What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? Economy. Social status, profiling and discrimination of the lower class harder for them to fight back against the system so they are more apt to take pleas to get moving than to go to trial and win a case. By the targeting of more lower class and drug addicts they get more convictions which looks better on their resumes. 

What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) See above answer for this…

In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? Same as above. 

What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? Same as above.

What do you think is the point of jail? Prison? The justice system? What do you think people on the outside think about people who are locked up? Supposedly a detention facility is supposed to house suspected criminals that are awaiting trial, But in this state is is merely a multi billion dollar business.

What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? Be more open minded and forgive people. “One apology often prevents a hundred wrong deeds.”

Survey: ‘We are handled like products on a shelf’

How long have you been inside? I’ve been inside now 5 months. 

How many court appearances have you had? 3 (not counting 1st appearances) on 2 separate cases. 

How many times have you talked to your lawyer? Saw 1 lawyer 1 time and the other lawyer 1 time.

What is the situation regarding your charge? (Awaiting sentencing, awaiting trial, awaiting appearance, etc.?) Currently I’m doing 150 days for probation violation and waiting for an appearance on new charges. 

Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it. No I have never been disciplined for any reason. 

What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? What’s right with DCDC, anything?

If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? We are handled like products on a shelf. The more money the county can make off of us being incarcerated the better, is how it seems. The DA’s don’t care if we get to come to court. Our lawyers (court appointed) don’t seem to care if we come to court. We’re treated worse than the animals at the shelter/pound. And no one shows us any respect for the most part. Now in 5B, STARR/GRAD pod, we had some c.o.’s show us respect, but not on any other pod. We’ve only been charged, most of us are not sentenced yet, if at all, but yet we’re all treated like rapists & kilers & child molesters by most of the staff. Very judgmental people. 

Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? No visitors for me. No calls. 

We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? Medical services do OK sometimes. If they ever get around to you. Also, there never seems to be a doctor here anymore, just physician assistants.

We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? It could and should be a lot better. Aramark has taken complete advantage of the situation of what we get on trays. They just want to make money. 

What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail? Not good. We are lucky to go to the library at all and on weeks we don’t go we don’t even have books delivered to the pods. 

What do you think of the c.o.’s? I don’t have problems but I’ve seen others have major problems with c.o.’s over nothing. Some c.o.’s power trip/ ego trip. 

How do you get along with other prisoners? I get along fine with everyone.

How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? They don’t affect me getting along with anyone. 

What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? I found my higher power/God and the STARR/GRAD program has started me off on the road to recovery from years of drug and alcohol addiction. 

Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened? No.

Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? Just this questionnaire. 

Some DCDC prisoners have suggested the idea of a prisoners council that would participate in making decisions about things at the jail. What do you think of such an idea? It would be an idea. 

How could it work? What would it look like? Let a council of inmates work out procedures with upper management staff. It would take some time I’m sure but a good idea. 

What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? DV. I’m sure it’s very common. Just like cheating wives. 

What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) Young black males. Drugs or violent crimes (robbery, AWDW, etc.)

In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? Yes. I would say race. But I’m white so notice that there are lot more blacks in here. 70% black, 20% Latino, 10% white is what it seems like to me. 

What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? Profiling has always been a problem.

What do you think is the point of jail? Prison? The justice system? What do you think people on the outside think about people who are locked up? Incarceration, to keep us off the streets, and make money off of us from the state. People outside are very judgmental.

What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? Love your neighbor. Just do the right thing and help out anyone when in your ability to do it.

Survey: ‘I would like to live in a world that is raceless’

How long have you been inside? 78 days

How many court appearances have you had? I have had one appearance.

How many times have you talked to your lawyer? I have talked with my lawyer 2 times.

What is the situation regarding your charge? (Awaiting sentencing, awaiting trial, awaiting appearance, etc.?) I am awaiting sentencing.

Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it. I have not been disciplined at DCDC.

What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? In my opinion DCDC’s biggest problems are the food there is no taste and breakfast is the same thing every other day. Also the cold showers. 

If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? The food. 

Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? Yes, my mother, father and wife have visited me while I have been in DCDC. I have not been told of any issues. 

We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? Not that I know of.

We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? The taste of the food is very bad. I have given my dog better smelling food.

What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail? I have never been to the library. As far as I know I didn’t think DCDC had any educational services which I believe they should have at the very least a GED program.

What do you think of the c.o.’s? The c.o.’s are OK but tend to yell and curse too much at us. Just because we are in jail doesn’t mean we are not people and should be given respect. 

How do you get along with other prisoners? I get along well with everyone. 

How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? They do not affect my ability to get along with others. 

What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? Mrs. McGee is a wonderful c.o.

Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened? I filed a grievance about a book I never got but I got a postcard saying to call this number. I gave it to Mrs. Walker and she said she would call it for me. Three days later I asked her if she called and she told me no so I asked her for it back and then I filed a grievance about it that was never responded to. It took her three weeks and me to keep asking her about it to get the postcard back and I don’t think she ever called. 

Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? No.

Some DCDC prisoners have suggested the idea of a prisoners council that would participate in making decisions about things at the jail. What do you think of such an idea? I do think the idea of a prisoners council would be a good idea for prisoners to solve problems we have. 

How could it work? What would it look like? I don’t know how it would work or what it would look like.

What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? DWIs brought me to jail and it’s sad but I believe it is very common. 

What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) I noticed that most prisoners are young black male here for either drugs or robberies. 

In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? In my opinion there is a relationship between race and incarceration. I just think race still plays a huge part in our world and that’s sad.

What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? I think social or economics have somewhat of a reason why people are locked up but most of it is poor choices. 

What do you think is the point of jail? Prison? The justice system? What do you think people on the outside think about people who are locked up? The point of jail or prison is for help people learn their lesson and keep the world safe from people that are said to be dangerous to the rest of the world. I believe people on the outside look down on people that are either in jail or been to prison. The jail and prison need more and better rehab services. 

What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? I would like to live in a world that is raceless and I believe that only way you get there is through education. 

‘Our unity is this jail’s weakness’

The following manifesto hits on so many things directly affecting Durham inmates and points to a way out of this mess. It deserves a wide audience and to be read to the end. 

Greetings friends and brothers,

I’m so glad to have found you. I’ve always been one to fight for a cause and now I know I’m not fighting alone which is a blessing. So many places to begin. First thing first my brothers WE MUST UNITE. Leave the street lifestyle on the street. These c.o.s fear unity. How can I be sure? Years ago an inmate told me about a strike he put together which the C.O.s quickly disassembled and separated inmates. The thing is these officers are NO smarter than the rest of us. Truly knowledge is power. Why do you think we are all so repressed? Because they want you to believe they are superior to you.  Continue reading

‘That was really unfair’

Dear (IOA), EPSON MFP image

Hey! How are you? I’m just getting off 25 day lock-back. There was a guy who kept running his mouth about the military. I am a Operation Iraq Freedom vet. We were playing cards. I told him about 20 times to keep quiet about the military. He is a 16 year old kid. I got up from the table and accidentally hit my cup. It landed in his lap. Continue reading

Long time…moved on

from a comrade formerly in D.C.D.C., an avid reader who moves his books along when done.

To (IOA),

Hey, what’s up? Long time since I wrote. I got to see D.D., my old bunkie from Durham, at —. I was there for about five and a half weeks. I’m now at Harnett. Where is D.? Is he at Green? Next time you write him let him know I’m doing well and that I’m (here). I couldn’t go to Green clothes (minimum custody) because N.J. has a hold on me. If you could tell him that for me because he told me to put in for Green. Continue reading