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

‘IOA: Fight til you can’t fight no more’

Greetings to IOA,

Content!…This is the first word of this letter I insist on stating. I’m Christian and a firm believer of being content. I received your first letter and my apologies for taking so long to respond. Under my circumstances I have been seriously practicing what I preach to set an example for others around me that complain about everything inside or outside the jail. According to my beliefs which it says in Phillippians 4:11, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” and also Hebrews 13:5-6, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” and because of this I refrained from writing. My God is a God of Love, Justice, Peace, Happiness and everything Good. So on behalf of my Brother through Christ our Savior, in whom I actually grew up with as we went to United Pentecostal Church, which is now First Pentecostal Church located on Carver St., from childhood to adulthood, and God allowing me to be present at his “Homecoming” to Heaven, my condolences to Matthew McCain, but I disclose to those who know or who may not know details about his death. Continue reading

‘I watch inmates rush to take plea bargains’

3.16.16

First off I would like to thank you for writing me and for your concern in DCJ. I have been here for a while and being locked back 16 ½ hours a day can drive me crazy at times. On top of that they run the A/C all year round and only give us one blanket and yes, it’s freezing like hell. I’m not understanding—we already locked up, what more do they need? Continue reading

‘It’s like telling these doors to open themselves and let us go’

(Note: the date on the following letter is correct—the envelope had multiple post marks, and seemed to have been opened before going out—editors)

Feb 3, 2016

IOA

I’m doing ok, just another day in jail. Thanks for writing. I don’t really know too much about the death of Matthew McCain, but I know the guard that was working that pod (Erick Boria) the day it happened is very lazy—all he does is sit at the desk either reading a book or looking at TV. He doesn’t do his rounds every 15 minutes like a lot of other guards here. Continue reading

“I feel that they may have lied about the time of death”

Hi G___!

My name is J___.  It’s great to hear from you.  I hope you made it past the snow and ice ok.  First, I would like to tell you about the heating and cooling in here.  These blankets that they give us are for controlled temperatures.  I think this is where we are getting cheated.  The heat is on in the day rooms.  But in the cells where the doors are closed it is very cold.  The whole winter I think they have cut the heat on 4 or 5 times at most, inside the cells that is.  The officers wear snoogans and gloves and coats, but all we have is this thin blanket.  The blanket is probably meant for 70° or 80° temperature.  I know last night with the cold temps and sleet it was probably 50° in my cell.  But when we come out for breakfast it is pretty warm in day room.  And Greg I am not out to lie or mislead in any way!  Why can’t someone come and catch this authority in the act of negligence.  You can come about anytime during day, when it is cold outside.

OK I would like for us to get more day room time.  This can’t help us to sleep better and be more tired to sleep better.  We are confined already, why can’t we play cards or walk or something to help our time go by better!  I will probably be in here another year, If you all could help with these things it would be great.

Now about Mr. McCain.  I am stay in the room right above the room that he was in.  I happened to be awake at 4:30 am the morning he died.  I thought I heard him making some noise, but there were guards standing at their desk joking and carrying on.  So I just thought that maybe I did not hear anything because they were so loud.  The nurse helper comes in about 5:10 am in the morning to check blood sugar and give shots, or whatever she does.  He is unresponsive to the call on intercom to get up and see the lady or nurse!  The guard opens the door for her, I hear them call his name a few times.  Then I see the nurse get her coat and leave the pod faster than I have ever seen her move.  She was moving so fast I thought she was on roller skates.

Then Mr. Boria and the Sergeant of whom I don’t know the name, come in the room.  They were knocking on desk loud and calling his name over and over.  Then I hear them slapping him about five times.  I think they know he was dead at this time.  This was probably around 5:30 am or so.  OK then the head nurse and helper come to the room this was around 5:40 or so.  The head nurse tries whatever she can do.  She has some kind of machine that keeps repeating something about administering CPR.

The machine keeps repeating something about CPR.  At this time other guards and sergeants are in here.  Some of them are on the phone, they all are kind of waiting around or something.  I still don’t know if he is alive or what.  Next I hear an Ambulance siren outside.  I think this is about 6:30 am before the paramedics are called for.  So when nurse helper left his room first time, around 5:25 am, it takes them over an hour I think in order to realize that he needs paramedics.  They work on him for all in all I would say 30 to 40 mins.  But this is the strangest thing the CPR machine that they were using started to make a noise like the sound of beeping.  You know the sound as if he has a pulse.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

OK  All the guards and everyone started acting happy.  They were laughing and talking and all.  So I am thinking at this time probably around 7 am that Mr. McCain is alive.  The paramedics leave without him on the stretcher so I think he is going to be OK.  So they pass our trays out without letting us out of our room.  So I eat and lay down and go to sleep.

So when I get up they still have us on lock back.  They call me down to get my medicine.  I notice a sheet over his door.  The sheet was his bed sheet.  It appeared to have vomit spot on the sheet.  I ask the guy beside of him what happened.  He said that Mr. McCain had died.  That was shocking to me.  I was asleep when they removed him from the pod.  This bed sheet stayed on the door for a week or so until someone came and cleaned the room out.  For it to be a dirty sheet like that I felt that, that was disrespectful.  So in a way I feel that they may have lied about the time of death.

I hear that he had told 2 or 3 people that he did not want to live.  He would get angry when his lady friend would not answer phone, I saw him one time refuse to go see doctor downstairs, so the guard just left him.  I don’t know if he maybe did not take some of his meds or not.  It is possible that he acted like he was swallowing and he was maybe throwing it away.  But he had had several seizures in here.  They should have had him on suicide watch or somewhere where camera could see him at all times.  It is possible that they let him commit suicide by not taking his meds.

Me personally, I am a white man 44 years old.  I did attend church with Mr. McCain several times.  I am so sorry for his family and kid.  I am so sorry that he did not make it out of here.  I know that he loved them and that they loved him.  I pray that God Bless his family.  I know they miss him.  I think and hope that the jail gets found negligent on their part.

God Bless You All

‘They use violence to subdue us but we wrong for using violence back’

The following letters came to us late last week.

Here is Genapher’s note of explanation: The one letter was mailed out on 11/9 and returned to me 12/22. The other letter was mailed out on 11/25 and was returned back to me 12/22. They say the address was wrong when I know it was right. Hope y’all had a good Christmas. Please don’t give up protesting. Continue reading

‘This is state-sponsored or funded madmen’

The following letter is from a state inmate who was serving time in Durham jail until he suffered a major hip injury in an altercation with other inmates.

Hey —,

Got your letter, thanks. I also got a letter from — that’s part of IOA. He liked something I said. It made me happy. It is a true blessing to have found like-minded folks out there. It was strange for years, I was like, “Are y’all reading this shit?” All my friends like to drink. It has destroyed my life. They maintain. They agree, but it is hard when you are fear stricken. Where I lived with my buddy for years in Durham on Vickers Ave, walking distance to the jail in 10 min. Anyway, we got tickets for having a beer on the sidewalk while we were working on a broken truck. Continue reading

‘It sucks the way they treat us’

1/4/16

Hi my name is Quadarius Evans. It sucks the way they treat us in Durham County Jail. My pops has been trying to come down here and see me for the past couple of months. But the way that they have it for you to sign up is crazy. I think they should go back to the old way. Me and my brother Travon are locked up together. In order for our father to come see us he has to wait a whole ‘nother week before he comes and sees the one he didn’t see last week. And I feel like the mental health staff is some bullshit. I tried to ask them could me and my brother Travon sit down and talk to each other, and they said they does not do that.

Phone calls started out at 15 minutes, now it’s down to 10 and the mail it takes you forever to get it. Since they call it Durham County Prison we should get 15 minute phone calls and mail Monday through Saturday.

I just want to thank you guys for everything that y’all have did for us and I don’t care if you use my name in the newsletter

‘Why are we letting this happen?’

Friends,

Alexander Berkman said it best, “I don’t believe in your laws, I don’t acknowledge the authority of your courts. I am innocent morally.” He tried to assassinate Henry Clay Frick, the owner and goon of a steel mill that was torturing its employees with low wages. They wanted (Berkman) to plead guilty. The New York Crime Commission admits that the very act of plea bargaining is criminal. Pleading to something you did not do or a lesser charge. These brainwashed sons of bitches in law enforcement of every branch are heathens. Misguided, prejudiced, untouchable, close-minded goons! Continue reading

‘It’s no use complaining to the people that are the problem.’

Dear Friends (I.O.A.)

I want it to be known I’m one of the prisoners at D.C.J. that first filed about the nasty trays and water logged lids. The pod kiosk can prove so. I’ve had a toothache for 1.5 months and said to be on a list for a dentist and I’ve yet to see one nor have a lot of other people. The nurse acted like I was wanting narcotic pain pills (I don’t), I just wanted some 800Mg Ibuprofen. She was very rude. I had to say Miss, please give me antibiotics. I got the antibiotic and a increase from 400 mg to 600 mg 2x a day on motrin, which does not help. I am on mental health meds as well, so  most staff, I feel, take me as a joke and brush me off.  Continue reading