‘I refuse to let them break me’

Hello,

How are you doing? Sorry about writing you all back so late, I’ve just been going through a lot. But I’m doing a lot better now, so you will be hearing from me more often. I hope this letter gets to you quickly and finds you in good spirits and health. How is life on the outside for you? Things have been up and down for me, but I stay praying and strong. I refuse to let them break me or let them make me fold. But I can tell you this: they sure is trying their best. Continue reading

Advertisements

“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”

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,

K.O.

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!

‘Could you imagine driving that far to sit in front of a video screen?’

6/11/17

Hi,

I owe you a response from a letter you wrote to me on March 27. You met my dad outside the jail and he gave you my name and information.

Since I’ve received that letter, a lot has happened. Indeed, unfortunately, we lost Niecey from the women’s pod, and I did not know her personally, but it still put everyone who heard of her death on edge. The tension could be felt in the air, and all of the detention officers were receiving dirty looks from detainees. Even those who were not even working on the night of the situation. Things could have grown dangerous on either side. Thank God, from at least my perspective and in my pod, we had no further issues pertaining to that.  Continue reading

‘Our day is coming sooner than later’

What’s up world? I’m so tired of being in here. I’ve been here 20 months, my life is on hold. What happened to staying out until 11:00? My kids don’t even come in at 6:45! Also, what’s up with these “no court date shown?” I can’t get house arrest because I don’t live in Durham. The struggle is real. I haven’t been charged for medical since I have been here, now all of a sudden they want to take my money. Never again will I go unless I’m half-way dead. $20 for some shampoo, really? I like to say at the end of the day they get to go home and we stuck here. Some care and some don’t. Out of sight and out of mind. But our day is coming sooner than later. They can’t hold us forever. Keep y’all head above water. Stay prayed up. God does answer prayers. Be blessed. Shout out to the girls: Melanie B, Brittany L, Ebony F, Christie L.

‘They should do away with these high-ass bonds…’

Jan 4 2017

IOA

What’s up? Thanks for the holiday card. Your reader’s poll made me think a lil bit because doing away with bail could do some good, but at the same time hurt. It can help those who can’t afford to bail out of jail for whatever reason. You also got those people that has stupid crazy bonds set by the court that can’t be touched at all, so they’re put in a situation where they have to sit in jail against their will. But then you do have those complete assholes who would take something as good as that and throw it away, so I guess I would say getting rid of bail is crazy but strongly do think they should do away with these high-ass bonds, like the average motherfucka is living like Donald Trump….other than that, ain’t nothing changed in this shithole but the fact I’m currently trying to fight to get off 22 and a half hour lockback after a year plus and they’re pissing in the wind. It’s easy for them to blow it off because they get to go home at the end of the day. I’m left in a box all day for what??? Really don’t know how much more of this bullshit I can take.

-Ghost

‘This is our life inside’

the following letter was received more than five weeks after it was written. 

Oct 22 2016

Hello!

My name is J. B. I’m an inmate in Durham County jail scheduled to return to — County…I am in fear of serving the rest of my time in Durham due to an outbreak of scabies that the jail and medical staff have tried to cover up. I was exposed to this disease because the medical staff put the inmate who was infected in our block. I actually shook hands with him, he used the phones and showers. Two days later they removed him and the sergeant along with a nurse came in with biohazard bags and removed his personal items. Continue reading

‘We got to drink out the sink at night like dogs’

Hello,

How are you? I hope you’re doing good. I know it’s been a little while since the last time I wrote you and I’m sorry about that!! I hope you get this letter as soon as possible.

Lately the food has got better since the new company. The things I don’t like is how they took away our sweet bread and blueberry bread, and how they keep feeding us potatoes. But I believe that now we are eating real food. Aramark is still running canteen, but I think it’s only until the end of the year or January. But before they stopped doing the food, man, the food was bad and to me it seemed like they was cutting costs even more. But you best believe I’m going to hold their feet to the fire on this one. Thank you guys because this couldn’t have happened without y’all help.  Continue reading