“There is a word for what they are doing, It’s called price-gouging.”

____,

Thanks for checking in on me. It’s crazy to think an entire year has passed sitting in this jail! Nothing much has changed since the last time I wrote. At one point the jail was censuring my mail and refusing to give me certain letters, but those issues were straightened out a while ago after addressing the matter with Major Collins. It seems as if the Detention Officers sorting through mail were going about and beyond what they should have. The mail service here has really struck a nerve recently though. Apparently the jail ahs recognized several days as holidays that are not considered state holidays. As a result mail was not distributed or sent out for 6 days. This not only interfered with communication with family members over the holidays but also directly impeded our access to the courts. I know several individuals who prepared letters to be sent to the courthouse but that was halted until the Detention Officers felt like coming into work and doing their jobs. You are telling me that not a single officer in the entire jail could collect the mail and send it ot the post office in that 6 day time period? Come on!

I did catch the “Night Without Detensions” protest on the news where individuals shut down the entrance into the jail by shackling themselves together. I’m glad people on the outside have the courage to draw attention to the rights Detainees are supposed to have. I’m also glad to hear that the complaints written to the Human Relations Commission of Durham has pulled some weight which led to recommendations on improving the jail. I would definitely like to see what recommendations they have provided! I know that IOA has been aggressive with coordinating an independent investigation into the jail, especially since January, and I hope this is one step closer to reaching that goal. I’m sure a lot will be uncovered during the results of any investigation of this jail. Some of what I read is unfortunately exaggerated and I wish people would stick to the facts instead of falsely inflating petty matters, but there is some truth to everyone’s comments. Many things are wrong here that need to be fixed!

I’m also surpirsed the Human Relations Commission expressed concern about the private companies profiting so much from Detainees. There is a word for what they are doing, It’s called price-gouging. And unfortunately it’s not just the private companies fault, but the jail’s too. From what I understand ARAMARK has won the new contract for canteen/commissary, they aren’t going anywhere. However, the jail charges ARAMARK to sell their pdocuts here. Part of the reason prices on canteen are so high is to blaance out what the jail charges to even sell the items. We are a captive audience and have no choice but to pay these ridiculous prices on items and ARAMARK knows this. I don’t blama ARAMARK for trying to make money, but there really needs to be boundaries on how much they can inflate these prices!

As for the Human Relations Commission recommendation to abolish bail, seems a bit far fetched to me. I do agree that bail in Durham is excessive in many cases, to the point that not even a wealthy many could post bond. Simply, the point of bond and detention is to make sure you come to court. I would assume many people have all intentions of coming to court, but I know some, are going to flee any chance they get. For that reason part of me agrees with bond, but something that is reasonable at the very least. Of course everyone who is being detained is going to support the contention of abolishing bail. That would mean we wouldn’t be detained any longer. However, I know this jail brings in a lot of money to this city (over $21 million) and many jobs, all of which would suffer if bail was abolished. THe state and county would never let that happen.

I know IOA has wored very hard and has made substantial progress with the jail. What I would like to see is the same progress with the DA’s office. I have had the pleasure over the past year to witness a lot of questionable behavior come out of that office. And the Assistant District Attornies have perfected every under-handed trick in the book to delay, keep you from getting a bond reduction, add more charges months down the road to railroad you and further enhance your bond, mishand evidence, and did I mention they delay your case? I have heard the prosecutor make every excuse imaginable to continue or delay my case from “I was on vacation and need more time,” to “my child was sick and I haven’t had a chance to look at the case,” and my favorite “I want more time so I can offer a plea bargain he probably won’t accept.” But yet somehow they always are able to prevail and get a continuance to the next month, sometimes 2 months. With all that said, I’m hoping to mave on to trial soon. It only took 14+ months to get to this point. Oh, I forgot to mention I had a court hearing the first week of January, and yes, it was continued to February. I think this excuse tops them all. Over the past year my attornies have easily widdled away at the states case and 2 separate search warrants were found to be defective. Which translates to Durham police officers violating my 4th amendment rights and numerous North Carolina statutes repeatedly. Judges ruled in each instance police officers conducted an illegal search. At the court hearing in January, the prosecutor wanted a continuance so they could now go back and search the same place that they had illegally searched to begin with. This is or would be an illegal search again in an attempt to exploit information that a judge has already suppressed. Basically, the prosecutor asked for a continuance so they could conduct an illegal search! Crazy. But nothing surprises me here in Durham anymore. And they got the continuance, hopefully they think twice before acting though.

Alright that’s enough ranting – thanks for the letter and updates. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

– ____

INHUMANE

this letter was sent in October.

Hey —

Hope you’re doing well. Well I just wanted to write back to let ya know how things are going around here…I asked for toilet paper one day and the c.o. told me NO because she didn’t like me and because I was too white! Really. I put a grievance in on her and nothing was ever done. I still have an open grievance from May about an officer that told me to piss in the shower because she wouldn’t pop my door unless I was gonna stay behind that door. Sick, right? And the other day I saw an officer and a young girl, a minor, age 16, get into it. Continue reading

I’ll Keep Writin’

12/2/2016

What’s good wit’cha out there? I pray that all’s well wit’ you and your fam, that goes fo’ your crew as well – happy late Thanksgivin’! As fo’ myself, it was just anotha’ day. I can’t see how people are all happy on a day that so many people were killed and raped, but hey, cheers to all that!!

I want to also say, thanks fo’ writin’ me here and I would’ve wrote sooner but I thought I would’ve been gone to the yard by now. They took me off my job and said that I was shippin’, but I’m still here and goin’ crazy wit’ the waitin’. Comin’ back to 5C from 4B is like a punishment to me. We come out twice a day – 9-12:45 and then from 4-6:15! We haven’t done anythin’ to be treated like this. Then it’s always cold!! (What the fuc’)

Anyway, the mail’s still fuc’ed up. I saw on the news the other day that its the postal service. The food now is hot and the same shit everyday, the same time day after day. Many other problems, so many but I’ll just go wit’ the two I just dropped on you. And I show people the Feedback. I love to show them my writin’ – my fam’ out there! My comment is that I’m wit’ him and anyone else that stands up fo’ what’s happenin’ to us. I never knew those words were in there and a lot of others didn’t also. When I get out I’m showin’ that on my page and I have some other things to share as well. On the election, I STILL DON’T BELIEVE IT, but here we go??

I am,

Gotti

[Jermaine Carson – formerly incarcerated at Durham jail, now at Piedmont C.I.]

‘I HATE DCDF and everything it stands for’

10/13/16

What’s up?

I’m ok. I could be better but I’m hanging in there. Thanks for writing back…You’re right about the mail, my wife sent me mail on the 6th of October and I received it on the 11th, how crazy is that? I’m also very ecstatic about the change in the food, it’s way more appetizing than Aramark. But anyway, they do all they can to try to make us seem irrelevant, but they can’t stop the mail services. So, with that being said I would like to see them try to stop us from writing you guys. 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

‘Now I’m going through the same thing in Hillsborough’

Hello, how are you? Not sure who I’m writing by name, but I’m familiar with your work and organization. Y’all used to send me newsletters and stuff during my 22 and a half month stay in Durham County Jail from May 2012 to March 2014. I sat in there through lockbacks and all for a charge that was dismissed that I did not have anything to do with which I believe the police knew from the start. Continue reading