A detainee sent this envelope back to show how long it took him to get the mail. Postmarked July 8; Received by jail July 22.
Thanks for the Feedback newsletter this month. Yep, I’m still here waiting on the ever so slow legal system. Seems like everyone here is in the same boat, waiting months on end to go to court just to have it postponed by the prosecutor for some nonsense reason. I’ve been here 9 months and finally ready to get some pertinent motions heard, and the prosecutor claims she hadn’t had enough time to prepare for my motions, postponing my next court date for yet another month. It’s crazy! As Donald Trump would say, “It’s rigged.” Other than that everything has been okay. The mail has been like always, slow and sporadic. Occasionally they’re opening my mail, still, but the only response I can get from the officers that manage the mail is that they don’t regulate what mail gets searched and why. I guess I’ll get no answer as to why my mail is being searched. We got a letter this week from major Rita Collins saying we will not be able to receive stamps in the mail anymore. I didn’t like that news, now I have to give Aramark more money just to get stamps.
I did catch the article in the paper a couple weeks ago about the County Board of Health’s report and finding them deficient in 4 of 38 regulations. The jail was obviously not in full compliance with these health regulations and my assumption is they never were to begin with. It’s also obvious the National Institute of Corrections and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare who came to assess the situation after Matthew’s death in January swept any non-compliance under the rug. Both deaths that occurred in this jail in the last 2 years have been preventable given the appropriate preemptive measures that should have been taken. Now I’m wondering how long the jail has been in violation of standard regulations set by the county board of health? I guess the more eyes that come to inspect the jail the better, and I hope the City of Durham’s Human Relations Commission is able to make a difference here, whenever they do their public forum.
There is some rumor going around that visitation will soon change, too. Instead of in-person visits, they are organizing to set up audio/video feeds and monitors for visitations. Your family members will still have to come to the jail to “visit,” but you will only see a T.V. transmission in which you can both hear and see each other. I’m gonna say it’s similar to Skype or FaceTime. Yet another way for the jail to record every action you make when you are here, just like the phones.
Anyway, thanks for your letter, the Feedback newsletter, and your continued support!
I don’t know what it is about your mail, but the stamp went through Raleigh on June 2 and they say they did not receive here until June 8. That is a lot of days to come from Raleigh to Durham. Right! But it seems there is always something going on with the mail, not getting picked up or brought in on time. You complain and then you don’t get it at all, and how would you know if it came? Or, it’s like you said they say you can’t have it for some reason.
I am with you and others that snacks and hot trays are too high, but the people feeding us are making sure that we eating just so you have to buy the snacks to get by and the hot tray if you want a taste of home, well the outside anyway. The cost of the food they sell in the jail is way too high and needs to go down. Continue reading
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.
What’s going on —,
This letter here is in regards to all inmates, the signatures are in accordance with those who are in full agreement of the “First Five Grieving Committee of the Durham County Jail.” The 2nd letter to whom it may concern is not based according to thoughts or opinions, it’s based according to outside resources and research done in accordance to the agencies or departments stated. This letter was written and prepared by —. We’re supporting him in agreement. We would LOVE to see this taken seriously and put into investigation on such governmental officials. What needs to be done NOW!!!!, which would be nice, is them stepping up and proving all of us in Durham County Jail wrong. I would also love it if you would post this on your Facebook page and tag it to my page. Thanks for all your support. Stay in touch. God Bless You All, IOA. Continue reading
I’m going to be leaving soon, cause I got 9 months of prison when I went to court. I know, I didn’t want to take the time, but I took it because I wanted out so bad and pay for it later. The court and this jail work together to get people to take pleas, so they go home or to prison, but out of here. They force us to drink out a sink / toilet and not allowed ice. The juice take the paint off the floor. I pass out info to a lot of inmates. A lot of them scared to write and put their name on the letter because, when you do, they keep your mail. But I don’t care. I’m going to keep writing.
It was good to receive your letter and the Vol 15 Feedback bulletin. I appreciate your concern, support and interest. As of my current state of mind, I remain optimistic though terribly heavy-laden. I am approaching 27 months of incarceration and have finally gotten close to getting my case resolved. Although I don’t wish to discuss any specifics of my charges, I will say I am glad to have this much time under my belt. The conditions I have experienced here have been ridiculous. It is a jail after all. It is not by any means a walk in the park. Finally they have stopped serving sandwiches at dinner time. I am not as hungry as I have been in the past months. I am being fed. This is good. Although it is not the best food and mostly starch, it fills the hole LOL. We still do not get to come out at nights around 9:00 p.m. like we did about a year ago, and that’s unfortunate. Basically I stay in my own lane and avoid as much calamity as possible. Sometimes living this way is difficult as trouble seems to find me from time to time.
I have managed to avoid disciplinary actions that have stemmed from disagreements I have had with fellow inmates and detention staff. It is a loud place. A place that you are not guaranteed a good night’s peace. You got people beating the walls and doors around you cancelling any chance of productive thought. It’s like people were raised in a barn. Some come in and never shower with their stinkin asses. Some shower and still stink. Let’s not get started on the toilet paper situation! Guards sometimes say, “We haven’t got a roll in the building.” That’s the biggest crock I’ve ever heard. Knowing good and well they have got stacks of it in the storage room. I have had a trying stay here, though. A few instances of the canteen messing up orders, the medical not being prompt, the mail arriving late, and recreation time being cut short or cancelled some days. I’m surviving…goin on…feelin strong. One thing I will say is that I desire the loving embrace of a woman. Loneliness envelops me. Anyhow…that’s neither here nor there. I do have a request that I hope you will be able to help me with. Enclosed is a photo (shown below) that I tore out of a feedback bulletin (issue 6). It is a photo I have had stuck to my wall for many months. If there is any way you could send me an enlarged copy or two, I would greatly appreciate it. I have looked at it daily and it has brought me peace (strangely enough). If you cannot print me an enlarged copy or two, could you please send this one back. I know this is a weird request lol. I plan on trying to draw this picture as I have been trying my hand at sketching. Thank you for taking the time to write me and for supporting us inmates locked down in this hellhole!
Brandon K Jayne
Man a lot has changed around here since I last wrote IOA, but most of it has been for the good. We now get three hot meals a day. We’re still dealing with a few small problems like the side of the pod I’m on most of the rooms don’t get hot water, and Sgt Davis said that they will be in to fit it, but they still have not. Continue reading
I received your letter in reply to me today. I want to thank you for your feedback. Many individuals in here have sent letters to the Inside-outside alliance or the members who originally contacted them and haven’t heard a response yet. Many inmates are concerned that their letters are not being received. So I appreciate you taking the time to reassure me that my letter was indeed received.
Anyway that I can help, I’m more than happy to do so or at least try to do so. This includes any questions you may have.
I heard recently that they have fired the nurse that was on duty during Matt’s incident, due to the events that occurred, which I find odd because I found officer Boria more so accountable for the events that occurred, and he is still present here many days.
Anyway, I’m lucky to have much support from family and friends. At the moment I don’t request much or need anything but I appreciate the offer and support. If there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask!
We received the following notice last week, along with the returned letter that the inmate was not allowed to receive. The reason given for its return was the vague, not helpful, arbitrary, and awful phrase “contains gang references.” Never mind the fact that we don’t know what they’re referring to (the mail room censor didn’t bother to cite specifics of the letter). Regardless, we must register our opposition to this as a reason, and we reject the entire climate of anti-gang measures taken by the jail, the cops and others. Just like gang injunctions that bar people suspected of being in gangs from participating in certain activities, this expansive censorship uses the bogeyman word “gang” to stop communication between two people whom jail staff don’t want communicating with each other. It uses that word “gang” to try to gain support for its evil deeds and dirty tricks, counting on law enforcement propaganda to make the public believe that “gangs” (however loosely defined) are violent and bad and a social menace.
So, there it is: Inside-Outside Alliance has been deemed a gang by the mail room at the Durham jail.