“this system don’t support us students”

Dear G______ W_______

I’m doing good right now, how about you?  Thanks for everything you doing, we need support in here & don’t worry you can share anything I say b/c the world need to know what is going on up in jail.  I’m with the L.O.D. group because my lawyer ain’t helping out at all, he just brought me a plea, for 4 years of prison time.  So I can sign but I didn’t sign it he told me if I don’t sign it then we will take it to trial, if you lose the trial you are going 18 to 20 years & is better to sign the plea he told me, but didn’t tell me anything about how could he help me.  My record is clean my first time been in jail.  I said this ain’t fighting for my rights, the lawyers & DAs working together to throw us in prison unjustly & I’m a student – I got the right to a fair trial.  No BS they saying to me I know that this system don’t support us students.  They saying I’m dangerous to society.  They are dangerous to society, b/c any student can fall victim in this sytem.  They will charge you with anything that fits your description & claim you guilty.  That’s sad that we live in a messed up world.  I think the video visitation is absurd they just trying to not let no one come & see us, the system is messed up I have been waiting for court & news about my case but all they give me is straight BS.  But thank you or being our voice out there.

Sincerely,

_____

 

‘They got a lie for every question people throw at them’

6-5-17

IOA–

What’s up IOA, thanks for writing. Ain’t nothing changed around here, it only gets worse. I do want to point out that the jail claims that they’re not going to do away with our face-to-face visits, that they added the video visits to give us more time with our family, in other words it’s pose to be a win-win for us. Damn shame! They got a lie for every question people throw at them. If it was all about us getting more visits with our family, then why not give us face to face visits all throughout the week instead of spending money on all this new equipment? Continue reading

CHECK THE MIRROR

L.O.D. has to be a vehicle of advancement.  It must be understood by all members and soldiers in this struggle that in and of itself ignorance is our greatest enemy.  Through ignorance we are made afraid.  Through ignorance we’re impoverished.  Through ignorance we remain unskilled and unmotivated in the working world and repeatedly fall victim to the many pitfalls that ignorance provides for us.  By designs drawn up and set in motion many years ago we’ve been trained to be so ignorant that we don’t even recognize our enemy.  In ignorance we blindly follow fads, trends, and the whimsical ideals of people just as uneducated, ignorant, and afraid as we are.  To stand FOR something is to stand AGAINST something.  Many have lived and died having never come to this realization.  What is it that you stand for?  What do you love that loves you in return?  Life or death?  Living in fucked up environments of racism destroying everything against the heart.

That is what L.O.D. represents.  The struggle.  The fight.  The stand against systems of ignorance, for the advancement of that which we hold dear to our hearts.  How long will you be a faker in your own skin?  Afraid to BE cause they say you can’t BE.  Afraid to do cause they say you can’t do.

A L.O.D. soldier is unafraid of the fears that ignorance provides.  A L.O.D. soldier’s greatest weapon is education.  “Know how.”  Plain and simple.  Once you know better you should show better.  If we knew better we’d do better.  In this technological age and time where the answers are provided at a button’s touch who can keep you from knowing something?  As an L.O.D. soldier you have accepted the responsibility for not only your own personal advancement, but also for that of your brothers and sisters in the struggle because the best way to get ahead in life is to help someone do the same.  The only way to break the cycle of this crabs in a bucket syndrome we’re stuck knee deep in is to stop being the crab.  Period.  L.O.D. is not a gang and will not adopt the so called principles of such.  What it is, however, is an alliance of like-minded individuals who’ve recognized the perilous situation we’ve had thrust upon us and hunger to be active in making a difference.  L.O.D. recognizes that the Enemy (this governmental machine) does not discriminate and neither shall we.  Any race, creed, color, or sexual orientation will and shall be accepted with open arms.  L.O.D. is a movement that begs the question: is this life or is this Death?  Where a person is born into a design of debt, poverty, incarceration, and death by age 30.

In today’s America there are two species of human being: non-felons and felons.  Felons, have become the new slave, alien, outcast, reject, undesirable, etc.  The promotion of ignorance in today’s society is at an all time high and it is this very ignorance that justifies the oppressive abuses we suffer at the hands of the law.

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as punishment for a crime.  Look it up.  We claim to be adults, but we’re afraid to speak up and speak out against the ignorance in our own neighborhoods that steals our children from us.  That same ignorance that claims our children is the very same ignorance that fuels the fears and frustrations of these quick trigger cops who kill seemingly in cold blood.

Living
In
Fucked up
Environments

Of
Racism

Destroying
Everything
Against
The
Heart

I salute the men and women of I.O.A. and thank you from the core of my heart for your courage and dedication to a selfless cause.  I’d been meaning to raech out to you guys for some time now.

As for your concerns about the complaints with this jail???…

My only complaint would be the lack of educational opportunities for the long term detainees.  I’ve made several requests myself to have some character education/ethics and choices work books sent in so that I can start a class but…instead, as you can see on the back side of page one, I’ve started a creative writing class and had a helluva turnout!  Months back I’d started a mens group in 4-D but I failed the young bros up there by letting my anger and frustration get the best of me.  In life – especially behind bars – people will treat you the way you present yourself.  I cannot echo the complaints you hear in every letter because hey…this is jail.  This building has saved many people from themselves, so as novel the thought of total abolishment of jail is, it would truly do more harm than good.  In a perfect world these prisons and jails wouldn’t be necessary.  Having spent 21 1/2 years day for day with no breaks in between in prison, I can honestly say it (prison) is needed.  I have met many a man who have lost all desire to change…if they ever possessed it to begin with.  Sad, but too true.  My Lord and Savior had different plans for me and so he filled me with the will to endure and to never give up.  He filled me with compassion and the desire to help mend this broken picture of society.  To let my own life and experiences be an example to our youth of not only what not do, but also of how to turn your life around for the better.

Man, I love it.  Inspiring substantial thought in people.

You have my permission to print this letter in its entirety and to use my full name.  I stand on every word I’ve written and fear no reprisal from staff.  I can honestly say that the vast majority of the staff I’ve encountered here are genuinely good people just doing their jobs to pay the bills.

In closing I’d like to ask you guys at IOA to see about sending me some materials (workbooks, etc.) to aid me in my task of creating a change.  Like I said earlier, ethics and choices, character education, anger management, stress management…anything that will bring something new and worthwhile to the boxes that these brothers and sister are unable to think outside of.  Help me help our society.

I am L.O.D.

Sincerely fearless and able,

Curtis Barnette

God bless y’all and I love you all.

“17 plus hours in a cell is a lot, especially when we are supposed to be considered innocent.”

G___,

Thanks for keeping in touch and for the newest Feedback booklet.  I finally did receive the second Human Relations Commission report you sent.  The first one you sent is missing, most likely due to the mail services here, not a surprise!  I read it thoroughly and agree that a community based research team to survey the facility would be beneficial, along with a civilian oversight board to address continuing issues within the jail.  More knowledge can never hurt, except for the jail’s reputation and how they function.  Video-visitation seems to be a hot topic raising significant controversy.  I’m trying to remain optimistic throughout the whole process and shift to this “hybrid” approach.  I agree that video-ONLY visitation should be prevent.  Though, at the moment, I’m trying to see how the hybrid approach could be beneficial.  They plan to launch the “hybrid” approach funded by the US Department of Justice sometime in the near future.  The newspaper quoted Mike Andrews (Sheriff) today 5/12/17, stating that in-person visits will remain and that the implementation of this new technology was to better serve the community and allow more access to visitation.  From what I’m understanding, there will be more days and times family members can come to utilize the video-visitation.  And there is talk about the possibility of external use for visitation.  Meaning that people can connect and speak to you face to face from their home device, without the inconvenience of coming down to the jail to do so.  I understand the frustration everyone is having with the possibility of them converting completely to video-only visitation.  And one can assume that this trial period with this “hybrid” approach is a way of slowly but inevitably transitioning to video-only visitation.  So, I think it is important and a good proactive step that everyone is already voicing their opposition of the jail to utilize video-only visitation just like other counties including Wake.  But, like I said, I’m trying to see what good things may come from these new computers.  My family does not live in this state and most of my friends have graduated and moved away to where their careers took them.  I have not physically seen my family in over a year.  I would love the opportunity to speak face to face with them even if it’s on a computer.  Talking on the phone only does so much, actually seeing them would be great.  And I’m sure my family feels the same.  I can’t be the only one in this predicament at the jail.  Hopefully the jail doesn’t convert to video-only visitation but I can see how the technology may give people more opportunities to visit and more options to those who can’t physically come to the jail.

In the newspaper the new replacement of Lt. Colonel Perkins was announced, Colonel Prignano.  What he said showed some promise.  Though, is it all just talk like Trump’s first 100 days in office?  The new colonel said he is willing to sit down with members of organizations like IOA to address any concerns head-on.  Lets hope he keeps that promise.  But, what I would like to see is that the new colonel make regular rounds through the pods just like Lt Col Perkins did.  I will give her credit, she came into the pds during our recreation time and addressed many of our concerns personally.  It showed that she cared and was actually doing her job well.  As for Major Couch, the person who temporarily filled LtC Perkins spot, I haven’t seen him in months.  When I did see him we were all locked in our cells and he quickly snuck right beck out the door without ever talking to a single detainees.  I’m glad they did not promote him to the new position – but let’s hope the new colonel surpasses LtC Perkins’ performance.

Last week the gentleman that manages Aramark and the canteen at this facility, over both Paul and Ms. Myers, indicated that they have numerous items in their inventory that they “could” sell, however the jail and its “security” refuses to let them do so.  Apparently every time sold must be approved by the jail.  Interestingly, he said that they have small radios, like ones similar in most prisons, but the jail refuses to allow them to be sold.  We asked the person in charge of security (Cpt. Barnes) about his position on allowing these radios to be sold.  The only excuse he gave was that he was too concerned about them being stolen, lost, and/or broken.  Is this a valid concern that outweighs what these devices could provide for us?  If prisons across the country have permitted the use of handheld radios, I’m not sure why the County Jail cannot.  17 plus hours in a cell is a lot, especially when we are supposed to be considered innocent.  I would love the opportunity to listen to music, news, and even NPR each day.  Every day its a fight with the officers to be able to even watch the news on TV for 30 mins, and don’t even try to watch MTV, VH1, or BET; those channels are blocked and some officers even go a step further and prohibit any music videos from being watched.  I don’t understand why its censored?  What’s even more interesting is that when Cpt Barnes was pressed with the issue even more he indicated that the jail was looking into “new technology” that would have access to the radio, among other things.  Though, I don’t know if this was said to pacify us or if it was really being researched.  My only comment, don’t get your hopes up anytime soon – things progress so slowly around here, it might take yars to actually see whatever this new technology is!

Now, the Food!  you asked if you could rely my previous complaints in my last letter to the Human Relations Commission and Wendy Jacobs.  I have no problems with that.  Back in March, I sent a grievance to the kitchen and ABL notifying them on multiple occasions that portions of their meals are not edible due to massive amounts of salt.  The one bite I took I had to spit out, I couldn’t bear the taste.  I didn’t receive a response for almost 8 weeks and when they finally did they aid, “we are working on training our cooks” and to be patient, the food will get better.  If I counted correctly, we are in the 8th month of a 10 month contract with ABL.  What?  What has ABL been doing up to this point?  Is their management that poorly handled?  They obviously have problems.  Yesterday, the officer refused to pass out the fruit and sent it back down to the kitchen because they were rotting.  Why would they even send that up here?  Probably the same reason they sent up curdled milk that looked grey, obviously past the expiration date.  I will admit that over the past couple weeks the cooking itself has improved but their menu is no where near healthy or nutritious.  It is filled with complex carbs, breads, starches,a nd processed meats or breaded patties.  how is this healthy, especially when you can’t even eat part of it due to its sub-standard quality.  I’ve already mentioned before about them cutting foods from the menu they originally began serving.  Where did the bananas, raw tomatoes and cucumbers, spinach/lettuce, and real meat go to that we saw the first couple weeks?  The only thing I see now is brown soggy lettuce overpowered with dressing.  It’s obvious they are cutting corners and the reviews I saw in the paper prior to their start here was nothing but a show.  Whoever manages ABL at this facility needs some help, a better menu, and better quality food.  What irritates me more is that I see the officers purchase food that ABL makes for them and it doesn’t even compare to what we get.  I’ve seen salads with freshly cut veggies, chicken on the bone – things we’ve never had prepared for us.  I understand this is a jail, but they are being paid more in a 10 month period than Aramark.  I don’t know the obstacles ABL faces down in the kitchen, but they were given more funds to outperform Aramark and provide healthier, more nutritious foods.  But I don’t see much of an improvement.  I’m left to think Aramark would have done a better job if given the extra funds.  And that’s crazy to think.  I think part of the reason we were all so disgusted with Aramark and what they served us was partially the jail’s fault with the limited funds they provided to them.

Lastly, Canteen!  They need help and bad.  it’s a sad sight to see each week.  Bull, the previous manager of the canteen here before he got fired, never had any of the problems I see now.  The two women, Pam and Ms. Myers, don’t get along and refuse to work together.  It’s a confusing mess.  They can’t keep anything stocked downstairs in their inventory.  There are weeks without essential things like stamps, phone cards, toiletries, clothing including socks and underwear.  In the year and a half I’ve been here I’ve seen nothing that compares to this dysfunctional management.  Even when they have the items in stock it’s hit or miss if they decide to come to the Pod to deliver our purchased items.  They posted a schedule in our Pod when canteen is to be delivered each week – what good that did, they didn’t follow it.  And it irritates me every time they substitute the items I purchased with something else I didn’t want and is usually at a cheaper price.  I get responses like, “we don’t have that item and we charged you for it so we are giving you this other item instead.”  Ahh, what?  No you’re not, I don’t want that.  And if you don’t catch it and they sneak it in without you noticing, too bad, they won’t refund it even though your order is wrong.  The whole service is pitiful.  Since Bull left Canteen has been falling apart.  I’m waiting for it to finally crash and burn.  Don’t even get me started on Hot Trays canteen offers.  The one time I order a meal it doesn’t come until after midnight and was ice cold.  Since then I refuse to purchase one and that’s been a good thing.  Lately they’ve been charging you, processing your order, and then deciding not to make the meals when scheduled, but at a time and date they want to even though you’ve already purchased it.  Last week they decided out of the blue not to serve meals with chips due to some “executive” decision, even though when you purchased it the order said w/ chips.  I don’t think they understand that some of their decisions are fraudulent.  when I purchase something I don’t expect to be cheated and deceived every time.  Then they get mad at me for being frustrated with them!

Due to the new technology coming in, the jail has been replacing their computer systems.  This inhibited us from puchasing anything from canteen for a week and a half.  No stamps, phone cards, toiletries, nothing.  We complained, so canteen provided us with physical paper ordering sheets.  We asked over and over when our orders would get filled!  PAM told us they had absolutely NO intentions what so ever of filling the paper order sheets even though they were provided.  Some people went 2-3 weeks without the ability to purchase anything because of complications with the new system.  This jail doesn’t give you anything when you are forced through that door into this facility – and then Canteen refuses to process paper orders despite not being able to access the computer system.  Again, pitiful, it’s not Aramark that needs to change – it’s the people who work here that need to change!  Okay, thanks for your letter and checking in, hope to hear from you soon.

 

E.X.

“being a freedom-fighter comes with its own particular vocabulary and diction”

Peace,

How are you?  I hope all is well.  I got your letter with a copy of the “Feedback.”  I really enjoyed this edition of Feedback (lol).

I don’t want to go off in a different world but I just want to vent a little bit.  Can anyone explain to me the reason for these “excessive bonds” Durham County is giving people?  Could it be that by law you can not deny a person a bond, unless he or she is an immediate danger to society, correct?  It looks like to me that the excessive bond has taken the place of having a no bond.  In reality, damn near everyone in jail has a no bondbecause the average Joe can’t post a hundred-thousand dollar bond and if he or she do post the bond he or she has to worry about the Feds coming to ask question about how they got the money.

Its the new way of holding people hostage in the blind-sight of the law.  The 8th amendment of the Constitution states “excessive bond not required.”  So, what’s making it be required?

Furthermore, how does a non-violent offense get a greater bond than violent offenses?  “It’s crazy.”  Lady justice sure is blind, she needs to retire or get her vision checked.  I believe we are political prisoners, we’re hostages held against our will, and are victims of law or victims of misused law.

We need to start protesting and agitating our local legislature to make them abolish all these racist and un-just laws.

The habitual felon law needs to be done away with, also prior record levels because it conflicts with the double jeopardy clause.

The state is adding more time to new offenses committed because of old offenses you did time for in the past.  So, in essence, I am being punished all over again for something I already been punish for.  “That’s crazy.”

But anyways, to move along, I believe words are powerful and very important.  Words alone can provide certain thoughts or ways of thinking.  We believe prisoners alone changes the dynamics of how society view prisoners.  Society has been shaped and molded to believe that all people that are incarcerated are crooks, liars, murderers, and con artists.  A people that can’t be trusted.  We believe prisoners says a lot, like, we believe that nobody is somebody, that’s someone’s mother, brother, uncle, wife, husband, etc.  That prisoners can be the next world leader.  Also, being a freedom-fighter comes with its own particular vocabulary and diction.  So, the choice of words is very important, especially, when it come to liberating the minds of the people.

Now, the subject about the black woman, I never meant to imply or make it seem that she was weak.  But to the contrary she was the strongest out of all.  She endure countless rapes, whippings, having her fetus cut from her body while still alive and having her children sold off and toss about from plantation to plantation and still come out the mother and cradle of civilization.  Of course, you going to have beautiful women like the ones that you named and the ones that haven’t even been born yet.

Also, you got to keep in mind that a lot of the slave that were already here were country born slaves.  So, most grew up knowing nothing but how to be a slave.  It was mostly the constant introduction of Africans from the on-going slave-trade that kept the seed of resistance in the country-born slave also.  For example, the Movie “Roots” by Alex Haley, which is a movie about slavery in America.  The African, Kunta Kintae, is brought on a slave ship to America from Africa and is forced into slavery.

On the plantation, he sees other slaves that begin to try and communicate with him and show him what is required of him, but the whole time in Kunta mind is how will he escape “bondage.”  The country born slaves is trying to get him to conform to their way of life which is slavery.  Kunta ended up running away twice and ended up caught each time.  Once he got a whipping in front of all the slaves, second time they chopped his foot off.  He was so strong minded that didn’t even stop him from wanting to be free again.  he didn’t even acknowledge his slave name “toby.”  he was so rebellious that his master had him whipped in public until he said his name was toby and even then he kept saying his name was Kunta.  The other slaves beg him to say his name is Toby, which he did in the end.  This is to show you a person who is educated that knows his God given right oppose to the ones that don’t know freedom.  Also, this tactic was used to put fear in the other slaves and naturally the mother pass this fear on to the children.  It was only self-preservation to ensure that her children don’t get beat or killed.  (Dang, I just realize I wrote a whole paragraph unrelated to the woman.  Its still information).  Even in the sixties, the parents of freedom fighters used to beg their children not to go bother the whites.  For an example, every time black folks riot, they don’t tear-up white folks stuff.  They tear up their own stuff.  Just like the jail and prisoners, the inmate will oppress and fight his fellow inmate for the simplest matter but the CO or the institution that is the real problem, he will not lift one finger to do any harm.

But anyways, Harriet Tubman said something back then that is relevant today: “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed ten thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”  That quote is so damn powerful.  That’s what we are faced with today.  The people is so damn blinded that they can’t see the enemy.  Instead of racism being in plain view they hide it because, remember, power is mostly felt, in other words, I don’t got to call you a nigger, I can just treat you like one, this goes for nigger-lovers too! (lol)

I believe we have lost sight of our common enemy, and if racism isn’t knocking at our front door, then it simply doesn’t exist.

As far as jails and prisons goes, most of the people behind the walls do not know they are slaves and are being handled unjustly because it has become normal.  it, also, stems from a lack of proper education in our homse and schools.  Frederick Douglass in his narrative didn’t have a burning desire to secure his freedom until he became “educated.”  The prison industrial complex limited information to inmates  behind their walls.  They even got a ban on certain books that they want to allow in the prison.  They reason being is to keep the people asleep!!

Therefore, education is a very important key to liberation.  And not just any education, it got to be proper education.  Information that will open the eyes of the people to see the condition that they are in and the tools to change those conditions.

As for visitation, they already installed the monitors and will start the video-visitation the beginning of next month.  I heard a few say that they were going to break the monitors but that remains to be seen.  In reality, nobody is trying to stand up for anything.  To many people are for self and don’t want to sacrifice for the collective.  I told everyone all they got to do is refuse visitation, don’t work the kitchen, don’t work in the PODS, make the CO do everything and I promise they will take that stuff out.  Nobody is trying to buck, so we will see what happens after the first visit, which probably nothing will happen.

You stand for nothing, you fall for anything.

Sincerely,

Black Holocaust

‘This damn jail is destroying my family’

What’s going on? Sorry it’s taken me so long to write back, but let’s just say I have not been myself lately. Sometimes I don’t know what or how to feel. Because I am so weighed down by personal issues and with the fact of being incarcerated for a year now. As far as this jail goes it’s still the same slave ship it has always been. These people act like they care about us, but they really don’t. They have made it much harder for our people to see us. Speaking of which, I have not seen my kids in 3 months. And that is the only way I can maintain. Hell, I have a son that’s about to be a year old, and one that’s soon to be 8 years old. I can’t take not seeing them…This damn jail is DESTROYING my family! Continue reading

‘We made ourselves obsolete’

The whole concept of marching and protesting is only a facade. It’ll never produce long-term results, only a temporary pacifier. The only way to fight against this type of injustice is through the local elections. You see, our people have a misconceived notion when it comes to the voting process. When it comes to voting for the president, we’ll show up in record-breaking numbers, but when it’s time to vote for local officials from the governor down to the district attorney, the majority of us won’t lift a goddamn finger! I mean, how can we a people be so misdirected and irresponsible? We made ourselves obsolete by neglecting to use our voting powers within our local governments, and as a result, our local governments can treat us in any manner they see fit without the threat of any political backlash. This is why the cops can kill us and get away with it, and why the courts can unjustly give us 100 years! It makes no goddamn sense!

Sorry it took so long to write back.

Forever fighting,

N.S.