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
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.
April 6, 2017
What’s good IOA? Ain’t shit changed in this hell hole but the date. “Still being held hostage from the sun!” The jail still refuses to treat us like human beings. You know it’s been a whole thirty one days since I wrote my last letter and they still haven’t fixed the damn kiosk in our pod. They come on and look at it like everything is just normal. They’re making it hard on themselves and us because we have to ask for paper sick calls and canteen sheets, then they want to bitch and complain. The medical people take forever to check the medical box and when they do it’s still a wait. But they want that 20 dollars on command.
As far as canteen goes, Pam is cool she tries to get her job done the best she can but wherever they found (the other) girl they need to send her back because she always fucking some shit up and eating all the chips and shit. That high-ass canteen is meant for us. To those that protest for us and was willing to get locked up on March 13 to stand up on our behalf about this visitation thing, I say thank you.
Until next time–
How are you doing G___? I hope all is well with you and your team. I received your letter on the 21 of March, but I had received the books two days before, which I am truly grateful. I am still waiting for the WEB DuBois “Souls of Black Folks,” and yes, you can send me more books by similar authors that deal with the struggle of liberation and the fight against oppression. My mind has a thirst for knowledge, so please, keep the well running.
On another note, the video visitation is another form of control and the further removal of privacy. The whole point of an in-person-visit is to be able to converse with your people about your well-being (that can be seen with the eyes) if you are being mistreated, and most importantly things about your case that can’t be said on the regular phones.
Its bad enough having to keep your loved ones in the blind about your fate with the Criminal Justice System because the phones is recording. Also, every single moment we are being recorded and watched and now they want to watch our visit. This is just another hint to the new age of high tech slavery. Also, its psychological warfare, the conditions of the mind to be more passive and non-rebellious. It is to imply we know what you’re planning before you do, I see your every move and its these very thoughts that become embedded, subconsciously, in our mind that causes the majority to be timid or content when it comes to checking the powers that be.
So, all in all, its just another infringement upon our privacy and to insert the county dominance over the convict. Also, to take every little things away that can bring joy to a convict soul.
At a recent visitation time, we met D, whose partner is locked up in the jail. She was going to visit him in person and face to face. D reminded us of a very simple but very profound truth that is at the heart and the beginnings of this group: “Whether you’re locked up or not, you’ve still got power. They’re trying to take it from you, but you’ve still got power.”
Everybody know that DCJ is the worst jail in NC and now they are going to cut out face to face visits.
I think they wanna control every aspect of each inmate’s life. I understand that this is jail but it is very cold in here even in the summer. I don’t know why they feel it has to be this way!
What’s up IOA? Thanks for writing. I’m hanging in there. Can’t really complain, God let me wake up. But as far as DCJ goes, same shit, different toilet. They find a way to make our lives worse by the day. The pod that I’m in has had a problem with our kiosk for damn near a month and the jail has still failed to fix it. Continue reading
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.
I thank you for your letter and I appreciate your concern about us here. How have you been? Me I been doing good. I’m sorry for taking so long to write back, I just been gettin things together for trial in March. I want the Inside-Outside Alliance and the news people at my trial so everybody can see how court doing in Durham County. I been here going on 3 years. This jail is some bullshit and the court system, too. The D.A. trying to give me 26 to 34 years. That’s crazy. I haven’t even seen 20. I’m only 18, about to be 19…And the jail they got me in the hole for 50 days now, and they won’t let me out the hole. Thank you for the card. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care. –S.B.