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.

Fucked up



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.

On the work pod: Another chain link in the extortion process

This interview is also available in zine form (pdf at the end of the interview).

Vincent, tell us what it’s like to work in the jail.

You can work 40 hours a week in the jail, and still owe money when you get out. Like me, I was put in there for owing in child support, I worked most of the time I was in there, and I came out and was no better off. The people in the kitchen work from 4:30 in the morning until 6 at night. It’s crazy. But they don’t want anyone to know all that worker-inmates do to keep the jail running. They don’t want the public to know. When you go to court, you have to change out of your blue uniform (signifying work pod) to go to court to appear in orange. They don’t want you to have any special recognition. The orange shows you are a criminal. The public knows that, they know orange = criminal. Even though you are doing a service for the jail. But they don’t want people to know that.

How did you come to be on the work pod?

Because I was having trouble adjusting to being confined. I went five days without eating when I was there. Mental health suggested I go on the work pod and I accepted. (As an aside, mental health is overworked, understaffed—for 400 people, it’s not enough). Basically, it was a way for me to keep busy, and keep my mind off things.

What expectations did you have for that, or what did you get?

Basically there’s more out time. You get an extra walk—the night walk. That’s all you get. Fried leg quarters every two weeks—I guess that’s the paycheck. Every two weeks on Tuesday you get fried leg quarters. And some hygiene stuff: Free deodorant, soap, toothpaste. You can get an extra tray at lunch. Extra helping of slop at lunch—potatoes, soy and carrots. Raw potatoes for breakfast, all-the-way done potatoes for lunch. You usually have to sign up to get on the work pod, but I didn’t go through the kiosk. Mental health did it for me. Most people try to get on there to have more time out of their cell. Some people who are doing time there, on a sentence, might be able to get up to 4 days off their sentence per month (but this is discretionary). DWI or child support or probation violation get no gain time. It’s up to the facility to grant you the days off. Those people not getting the days off is because of the sheriff (see general statute).

There was a day people were refusing to go into the kitchen, and they threatened to lock everybody back. The other threat is you’ll be removed from the pod. Those threats keep people in line.

They don’t want to cut days off of those people, because that’s money for them. The longer those people stay, the more money the county gets. The added bonus they get is they’re working in the work pod, and that’s 65 people for free labor.

In my opinion, it’s the same thing they used to do in the Old South. Keep everyone in field working, you keep all the money. 65 people running your jail, from laundry, to sanitation, to cooking your food—all the officers have to do is just sit there, pretty much. Conditions in DCJ are like the Old South because c.o.’s are like black slavers. They work their own people and rarely assist in the work. I’ve noticed that they have a White Sheriff followed by a black female Colonel Perkins who is submissive to him and Major Couch submissive to Colonel Perkins so the black female has Authority over the black male who is submissive to a white male. It’s the best way to divide and conquer.

The sheriff’s department is the new headquarters of the Klan—they even recruit black people. The best way to oppress a people is to use their own people because they know them.

How does anyone get to be on the work pod?

Most people ask at the kiosk. As long as you fit the criteria. As long as you’re sentenced, or have a bond less than $20,000. It’s totally voluntarily done. But if you give limited recreation time, people will jump at the opportunity.

Everyone does it just to get out of the cell. Sitting in a box all day long is no fun.

For people who don’t understand, what work do inmates perform at the Durham jail?

In the kitchen they don’t have enough kitchen staff. They are totally dependent on inmates. Most of the time, you’ll have one cafeteria worker, who works for Aramark. He or she is like the whipmaster, the dictator. Roughly 10 to 15 inmates per one paid kitchen staff paid by Aramark. The inmates work for the whole day. They treat you like you’re getting a check.

What did you do? Take us through a typical day.

I did laundry. A typical day in laundry, there’s only four of us who work. We wash everything. We pick it up, we wash it, we dry it, we bring it back. We do at least two floors, or eight pods a day. Wash, dry, put each bag back on the appropriate door. One officer is with us everywhere, to make sure you’re not doing anything you’re not supposed to. They don’t do the work. They’re the overseers. We started about 7 a.m., and we’d be done by 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon. Everything that has linen on it, we do it. Intake and outgoing laundry.

In the laundry we fold all inmate jail-issued clothes. And washed all personal items in net bags. We fold blankets, sheets, towels, washcloths and supply the kitchen and sanitation departments. We go in every pod except for the female they don’t even want us to look at them, it’s like they think we’ve never seen women before. But we hang the bags back on the doors we take them off in the morning. We do it all.

The clothes they buy are the cheapest possible. So people will buy more. The blankets are like sheets; if you get a pinhole in them you can rip them from end-to-end with little force. The sheets are see-through. The new uniforms are stock piled in the back, out of circulation, while the old raggedy laundry ones are circulated.

I did try other work, but laundry suited me best. I worked a little in the kitchen, and another inmate-worker said to me “you’re putting too much meat on there.” (We’re talking four pieces of thin, thin meat.) I looked at him like, ‘what the fuck you talking about? If I’m gonna be down there, I’m gonna do it my way.’  It’s funny how they feel like it’s coming out of their pocket. That’s the assimilation stuff I’m talking about, they identify with the jail in a way. Inmates prepare food for officers. Spaghetti with real beef in it. They pay two dollars for a tray. The officers get milk. No inmates get milk at all. No fruit, except for applesauce. But, sometimes the inmates get the officers in their own ways.

Would you say the work of inmates is very important to the daily functioning of the jail?

It’s essential! You can’t have all the inmates sit in the pod all day and have all this stuff happen. Inmate workers save that jail a lot of money. 65 times 8 times 40. I figured minimum wage, I forgot the amount, but it’s a lot of money (at $7.25/hr–$18850).

How aware are all inmates of how vital their work (or the work of the work pod) is?

I think most inmates know, but they become assimilated. They feel like they’re obligated to work there, like it’s a real job they’re getting paid for, where there is no gratitude whatsoever. My thing is they’re feeling like they have to do it. But I guess you do, because if you don’t you go back in your box.

What did you think about your role as a worker-inmate at DCDF?

I felt like I was giving them a discount on ways to confine me. It was ultimately disrespect. Everything I did was to benefit them, nothing to benefit me. No payment, no less time to serve, you’re pushed into the streets and no means of taking care of yourself. You come out to more problems than what you went in with, which is my case. And they got a lot of my labor.

What do you think people on other pods think about the work pod?

They think we’re privileged. But we earn every moment we had out. Grass on the other side of the fence always is greener til you get there.

It’s interesting because you would think with all the work that inmates do that the jail would be clean. But one of the things that people complain about a lot is not having access to cleaning materials.

As far as the jail being dirty: imagine you have 65 inmates in a pod in 48 cells with one mop head for seven days and you’re cleaning around toilets with diluted chemicals. Those mop rooms smell like urine and sewage.

What is people’s understanding of who and what Aramark is?

Aramark: people know how they are making money off them. You feed people potatoes three times a day and they know people are starving them out to buy hot trays at 8 or 9 bucks a pop, and/or canteen. And they’re doing this with almost all inmates doing the work.

What would happen if no one agreed to be on the work pod, or they just didn’t do the work?

They’d have to hire people and actually have to pay people. And it would be a county job so it would have to be over minimum wage. They are running their business as cheaply as possible. Period. The jail is a business. It’s a racket.

I mean the work pod, it’s another chain link in the extortion process. If you owe the county money, and you work six months for them, and you still owe them money afterward—who benefitted? I didn’t. Not at all. Matter of fact, the jail and the whole legal system is the source of my anxiety.

I talk about assimilation, but it’s not just the inmate being assimilated, it’s the employees, too. This assimilation comes from the Willie Lynch mentality. The Old South is like a roach problem. You can’t stomp it out.

ontheworkpod (1)

on the work pod

‘I love writing, especially when we are trying to get something positive accomplished’


How are you? I’m doing ‘good’ as expected considering these negative circumstances: If I worry about the negative things in here, my time would go by slower and more painful; so I don’t worry. I am just very concerned about the jail and the judicial system! You all on the outside help to build my hopes up high to know that someone is fighting for us inmates in the DCDF. Continue reading

Does the sheriff season his food?: a report from the work pod

From pod 4B (work pod) comes this report:

The Sheriff has started coming to the kitchen nearly once a week.  J—says this definitely has to do with all the struggle against conditions and the complaints cited against the food, and with the sheriff trying to appear like a man of the people and getting called out for being unaccountable or a tourist at his own jail. He’s been eating a couple of bites and trying to talk to guys in the kitchen. Guys on the pod asked him point blank: ‘Why can’t we have salt or pepper to put on our food, to season it a little?’ He gave no answer. “We wonder if he puts salt on his own food,” says J–. As it is, inmates who work in the kitchen (and those who get the food) often use soup packets bought through canteen to get any kind of seasoning for their food. Nothing has improved nutritionally or flavor-wise. Nor has much changed with the cleaning regimen for food trays. There is still food and other substances clinging to them on a regular basis. Continue reading


Investigate or relieve the following of their duties (or they can step down)…

Coleman (rank: Staff Sergeant): He abuses his authority, talks down on others and he threatens detainees for lil or no reason at all. We the detainees feel like he should be investigated for abusive behavior and unprofessional conduct. He is also well-known in Durham County for homosexual behavior and makes detainees uncomfortable during strip searches and in general when making rounds in the pod.

Mrs. Parker/MacArthur (rank: C.O./officer): She abuses her authority and has a very nasty attitude toward the detainees, using abusive language to interact with detainees. We the detainees feel like she is very unprofessional and we feel like she brings her problems to work. I myself have seen it all, and she told he herself that she wishes I get 10 years. Now that’s not anything to tell a detainee at all. We feel like she should be investigated.

Thaxton (rank: Sergeant): One of the worst of them all is Sgt. Thaxton. He misuses his authority on a day to day basis. He steals detainees time and uses abusive language. Threatens to harm detainees physically, he cuts out recreation time or takes it altogether. He forces detainees to clean up messes they didn’t make with threats of lockback or physical harm. We detainees feel like he should be investigated and relieved of all his duties.

Andrews (rank: top sheriff/over the jail): We the detainees feel he is not taking care of his responsibilities as the top sheriff. This is probably the worst jail in the state of NC. We the detainees feel like we should go back on our old schedule, he is punishing all of us for one person’s act. He needs to stop running from his responsibilities, his job and this jail, and he needs to fix what he broke or step down from the top sheriff.

Couch (rank: Major): We the detainees in Durham Jail don’t know Major Couch, he is a ghost to us. He confines people to the hole without finding out what is going on, and there is never a way to contact him. He loves to put the detainees on admin (segregation) for 6 months or better and it’s not right. We the detainees feel like he should be investigated for unprofessional conduct.

There are more bad c.o.’s/ officers

— Biggs and G


What We Believe. What We Want.

What We Believe. What We Want. / Lo que creemos. Lo que queremos.

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 A statement from Inside-Outside Alliance and friends & family members with loved ones locked inside the Durham County Jail

To sign on in support of this statement, go here.


In early March of 2015, Sheriff Michael Andrews implemented an ongoing lockback inside the Durham County Jail, with prisoners held in their cells for 24-48 hours at a time. Prisoners used to be allowed out of their cells for at least six and a half hours per day, but under the lockback they have been allowed out of their cells first for 6, then for 8 hours per week, drastically reducing their time for exercise, showers, socializing, and contacting their loved ones and lawyers. There have been multiple, unreported suicide attempts since the lockback began. On May 18th, in direct response to weekly protests outside the jail, and continued resistance inside, the Sheriff announced that the jail would begin enforcing a daily “detainee walk schedule.” This piecemeal rollback of what are decidedly inhumane punishment practices is unacceptable. Sheriff Andrews professes that his “primary concern” is for the “safety of staff and detainees.” He claims that the lockback measures “were implemented for the safety of all.”


We reject Sheriff Andrews’ understanding and practice of safety, and we invite others to do so with us. Safety does not look like extreme isolation; poor nutrition; medical neglect; unsanitary cells; restricted contact with loved ones; denial of reading materials; or lack of educational and vocational opportunities. These “safety measures” implemented by Sheriff Andrews and jail staff do not reduce violence. They create violence.


We believe safety comes from having meaningful connections to loved ones. We believe safety is generated when people are treated with dignity. We desire a Durham where safety looks like joy, interdependence, and mutual care, rather than walls, cages, and banishment. We dream of, and dare to struggle for a Durham where no one is treated as a criminal and no one person’s safety is dependent upon the exile of another, and we invite others to do so with us.


Toward that end:


  1. We demand an immediate end to the lockback: restore full recreational time for all inmates to at least what it was before March 6. Under no circumstances shall such collective punishment be meted out in the future.
  2. We want an independent investigation of the jail led by a team of doctors, lawyers, mental health providers, nutritionists, and Durham residents. These individuals should in no way be affiliated with the Sheriff’s office, the County, or the City, and they should be guided in their investigation by their fields of expertise, by grievances filed by people inside, letters written by inmates about their conditions, and the demands stated here. Inquiry shall include, but not be limited to the following: e coli and other foodborne hazards; temperatures throughout the jail; nutritional value of food served; price gouging by contractors (Paytel and Aramark); and stolen property. The full findings of this group shall be published widely.
  3. We want an end to medical abuse and neglect: all prisoners should have free, meaningful access to health care. This includes a timely response to health-related concerns, mental health services, and access to all prescribed medications.
  4. We demand that inmates have full access to writing and reading materials at all times. All prisoners should have access to pens, pencils, and paper, and a well-stocked library. They should be able to receive books mailed in by authorized publishers and book distributors.
  5. We want jail officials to uphold the right to religious freedom. All prisoners, regardless of their faith practices, have a constitutional right to religious freedom. Jail officials should in no way interfere with or limit this practice.
  6. We want all mail to be delivered to prisoners or properly returned. If a piece of mail is rejected, jail officials are required by law to return the mail to sender with a stated reason for return. Further, the intended recipient should be notified of the mail being returned to the sender, to allow the inmate to appeal the censorship.
  7. We demand an end to the extraction of fees from inmates and their families and friends. Prisoners should not have to pay for medical care or phone calls, nor should their loved ones be charged a convenience fee for paytel services or for adding money to prisoners’ canteen accounts.
  8. We want visitation to be flexible, accessible, and in person. Prisoners and their loved ones should be allowed face-to-face visits multiple times a week for at least thirty minutes. Loved ones should be able to schedule a visit via phone, in person, or online. We reject outright the planned implementation of video visitation at the jail.
  9. We want prisoners to have access to meaningful educational and vocational opportunities while in the jail. In order to avoid perpetuating a cycle of violence, the jail needs transformative activities for prisoners.
  10. We demand that inmates be spoken to and listened to with respect and that they take part in decision making as it relates to the conditions of their confinement. Inmates must be fully informed of all matters that affect them, both individually (e.g. court dates, visits, and transfers) and collectively (e.g. changes to policy) in a timely, consistent manner and in their native language. Further, pod councils should be formed in order so that inmates can play a part in decision making and the dissemination of information in the jail.

Further, with the clear goal of drastically reducing the jail population immediately, we make these demands:


  1. Abolish bail. Most of the 500+ people locked inside the jail are pre-trial detainees and pose little to no flight risk. They, their families, and the community benefit from their being home, not in jail. Bail is a regressive penalty that disproportionately impacts people of color, low-income people, and people with mental illness.


  1. Prioritize the employment of  formerly incarcerated and convicted people. Formerly incarcerated and convicted people face many barriers to employment. Durham County can take one meaningful step to alleviate this barrier by passing a policy that gives preference in county contracts to business that employ formerly incarcerated and convicted people.


We offer the above statement as a grouping of people who have come together around the lockback, but who understand the problems with the jail run deeper. Some of us are abolitionists, and make no bones about it. As such, we stand humbly in the great tradition of such people as Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips and John Brown. We also are family members of people in jail, and simply want better for our people. We are also community folks and formerly incarcerated people. We make the above statement in the context of the present lockback conditions, and as a way to give voice to the desires expressed by people inside and outside frustrated with a system that provides little liberty or justice. The articulation of these desires is made for the here and now, and should not be taken to be the sum total of what we want, now or in the future. Rather, we put them forward as merely a starting point, recognizing that a movement of many more people (especially including inmates themselves) will carry this statement well beyond what it is and perhaps into the realm of a truly emancipatory project. We embrace that prospect fully.

Lo que creemos. Lo que queremos.

Un comunicado del Inside-Outside Alianza y amigos y familias con sus seres queridos encerrados en la cárcel del condado de Durham

A principios de marzo de 2015, el Sheriff Michael Andrews implementó un encierro, o “lockback”, dentro de la cárcel del condado de Durham, con los prisioneros detenidos en sus celdas durante 24-48 horas a la vez. Antes, permitían a los presos salir de sus celdas para seis y media horas cada día, pero bajo el lockback, primero, les permitieron salir de sus celdas para 6 horas, y ahora les permite salir 8 horas por semana, lo que reduce drásticamente su tiempo para hacer ejercicio, duchas, socializar, y ponerse en contacto con sus seres queridos y abogados. Ha habido varios intentos de suicidio que no han denunciado, desde que comenzó el lockback. El 18 de mayo, como consecuencia de las protestas semanales fuera de la cárcel, y la continuación de la resistencia en el interior, el Sheriff anunció que la cárcel se iniciaría la aplicación de un diario “horario de paseo para los detenidos.” Esta reducción fragmentada de estas prácticas de castigo que son decididamente inhumanas es inaceptable. Sheriff Andrews declara que su “principal preocupación” es la “seguridad del personal y los detenidos. “Declara que “se llevaron a cabo el lockback por la seguridad de todos.”

Rechazamos la comprensión y la práctica de la seguridad de sheriff Andrews, e invitamos a otros a hacer lo mismo con nosotros. Seguridad no se parece a un aislamiento extremo; la mala alimentación; t descuido médico; células insalubres; contactos restringidos con seres queridos; negación de materiales de lectura; o la falta de oportunidades educativas y vocacionales. Estas “medidas de seguridad”, implementado por el Sheriff Andrews y el personal de la cárcel no disminuyen la violencia. Crean la violencia.

Creemos que la seguridad viene de tener conexiones significativas a sus seres queridos. Creemos que la seguridad se genera cuando las personas estén tratadas con dignidad. Deseamos un Durham donde la seguridad se ve como la alegría, la interdependencia, y el cuidado mutuo, en lugar de paredes, jaulas, y el rechazo. Soñamos con, y se atreven a luchar por un Durham donde se trata a nadie como un criminal y la seguridad de ninguna persona depende del exilio de otro, e invitamos a otros a hacer lo mismo con nosotros.

Con ese fin:

  • Exigimos el fin inmediato del lockback: una restauración completa del tiempo de ocio para todos los presos al nivel que se solían tener antes del 6 de Marzo. En ningún caso, no se debe repetir este tipo de castigo colectivo en la cárcel en el futuro.
  • Queremos una investigación independiente de la cárcel dirigida por un equipo de médicos, abogados, proveedores de salud mental, nutricionistas, y los residentes de Durham. Estas personas no deben estar afiliadas a la oficina del sheriff, el Condado o la Ciudad de ninguna manera, y ellos deben usar sus áreas de práctica, los reclamos presentados por personas en el interior, cartas escritas por presos sobre sus condiciones, y las exigencias declaradas aquí, para guiar su investigación. Su interrogación debe incluir, pero no limitarse a los siguientes: riesgos de E-coli y otras enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos; las temperaturas por toda la cárcel; el valor nutricional de los alimentos que se sirven; la escalada de precios por parte de contratistas (Paytel y Aramark); y el robo de propiedad. Los resultados completos de esta investigación se publicarán ampliamente.
  • Queremos terminar con el abuso y la negligencia médica: todos los presos deben tener acceso libre y significativa a atención médica. Esto incluye una respuesta oportuna a las inquietudes relacionadas con la salud, servicios de salud mental, y el acceso a todos los medicamentos recetados.
  • Exigimos que los presos tengan pleno acceso a materiales de escritura y lectura en todo momento. Todos los presos deben tener acceso a las plumas, lápices y papel, y una biblioteca bien surtida. Se debe permitir a los presos recibir libros enviados por los editores y distribuidores de libros autorizados.
  • Queremos que los funcionarios de la cárcel respeten el derecho a la libertad religiosa. Todos los presos, independientemente de sus prácticas religiosas, tienen el derecho constitucional a la libertad religiosa. Funcionarios de la cárcel no deben interferir o limitar esta práctica de ninguna manera.
  • Queremos que todo el correo sea entregado a los presos o debidamente devuelto. Si una carta está rechazada, la ley requiere que funcionarios de la cárcel devuelvan el correo al remitente con una razón explicita para el regreso. Además, se debe notificar al destinatario que se devolvieron su correspondencia al remitente, para permitir que el preso pueda apelar la censura.
  • Exigimos el fin de la extracción de pagos de los presos y sus familias y amigos. Los presos no deberían tener que pagar por la atención médica o de teléfono, ni si sus seres queridos se cobrará una cuota de conveniencia para los servicios de Paytel o para añadir dinero a las cuentas de cantina de los presos.
  • Queremos que la visita sea flexible, accesible, y en persona. Se debe permitir que los presos y sus seres queridos tengan visitas cara a cara varias veces a la semana que duran al menos treinta minutos. Los seres queridos deben ser capaces de programar una visita a través del teléfono, en persona o en línea. chazamos de plano la aplicación prevista de la visita por vídeo en la cárcel.
  • Queremos que los presos tengan acceso a las oportunidades educativas y vocacionales significativas, mientras que estén en la cárcel. Para evitar la perpetuación de un ciclo de violencia, la cárcel debe ofrecer actividades transformadoras para los presos.
  • Exigimos que todo el personal de la cárcel hablara y escuchara con respeto a los presos y que ellos participen en el proceso de decidir cuándo se relaciona a las condiciones de su confinamiento. Se debe informar a los presos de todos los asuntos que les afectan, tanto a nivel individual (por ejemplo, fechas de corte, visitas y traslados) y colectiva (por ejemplo, cambios en la política) de una manera oportuna, consistente y en su idioma nativo. Además, se debe formar un consejo para cada pod, para que los presos pueden desempeñar un papel en la toma de decisiones y la difusión de información en la cárcel.

Además, con el claro objetivo de reducir drásticamente la población presa de inmediato, hacemos estas exigencias:

  1. La abolición de lafianza.La mayor parte de las más de 500 personas encerradas dentro de la cárcel son detenidos en espera de juicio que no constituyen ningún riesgo de fuga. Ellos, sus familias, y la comunidad se benefician de su ser en casa, no en la cárcel. La fianza es un impuesto regresivo que afecta de manera desproporcionada a las personas de color, las personas con bajos ingresos, y personas con enfermedad mental.
  1. Dar prioridad a la contratación de personas previamente encarcelados y condenados.Las personas anteriormente encarceladas se enfrentan a muchos obstáculos para el empleo. Condado de Durham puede dar un paso significativo para paliar esta barrera al pasar de una política que da preferencia en los contratos del condado a los negocios que emplean ex encarcelados y condenados personas.

Ofrecemos la declaración anterior como un grupo de personas que se han unido en terminar el lockback, pero que entienden los problemas con la cárcel son más profundos. Algunos de nosotros somos abolicionistas, y no andamos con rodeos en esto. Como tal, estamos humildemente en la gran tradición de la gente como Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, y John Brown. También somos miembros de las familias de personas en la cárcel, y simplemente queremos mejor para nuestro pueblo. También somos la gente de la comunidad y las personas previamente encarceladas. Hacemos la declaración anterior en el contexto de las presentes condiciones de lockback, y como una forma de dar voz a los deseos expresados por las personas al dentro y afuera que están frustrados con un sistema que proporciona poca libertad ni la justicia. La articulación de estos deseos se hace para el aquí y ahora, y no debe tomarse como la suma total de lo que queremos, ahora o en el futuro. Más bien, les presenta como un mero punto de partida, reconociendo que un movimiento de muchas más personas (especialmente incluyendo los presos ellos mismos) llevará esta declaración mucho más allá de lo que es y tal vez en el ámbito de un proyecto verdaderamente emancipador. Recibimos esa perspectiva con los brazos abiertos.

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‘DCJ is sowing the seeds of its future’

Sept. 2, 2014

for the web readers and the next newsletter.

from Domeka:

Thanks in part especially to the Dalai Lama’s wise words.

We are living in an epidemic, the disease being DCJ. Symptoms are oppression, injustice, and inequality. (Do you fit the criteria?) The cause…is acceptance. Acceptance to exploitation. Inaction is the wrong response to this injustice, and with our failure to act we become nothing more but enablers to our own misery. How long are you willing to passively tolerate the every day trials of this disease? This disease has only one cure: unity, patience, and love, AKA interdependence. Continue reading

‘To change the world’

Aug. 12, 2014

Dear —,

What’s happenin? Just got your letter Friday. I can understand your frustrations truly my friend. Being an inmate our whole stay is time and the consumption of it. As for me personally I try to maintain and grow mind, body and spirit not only to revitalize myself but to defy the system and stereotypical comments of jail/prison hardening or breaking you. Though I have days on edge I still strive for a better tomorrow. Continue reading

‘A lot of contradictions–shows us really what justice is’

July 26, 2014

Dear —-,

How are you doing my brother? Still standing strong (in here), maybe not quite as numbered though. I asked a gentleman today if he wanted to join an I.O.A. meeting. When he told me no I asked him why and he said because the C.O.s don’t give a shit. Yet I can’t help but feel my lack of experience as a speaker holds some responsibility.


this comic accompanied the letter

Continue reading

‘There’s good reason not to stand up: Fear!’

from a former Durham inmate in a state facility.
Hello. It’s been 1 month since I received your letter and I apologize for sitting on it this long. In your last letter you wrote: “When a lot of people are close together and are getting screwed in the same way it is a ripe place for organizing. Eliminating distinctions or divisions, and struggling, as a group, for the lot of the most oppressed among you and with the goal of expanding your ability to fight collectively in the future, is a good way to approach such situations.” Continue reading