‘What’s gonna happen now that we only have shower shoes?’

What’s up? I’m doing fine. I might be on the ropes, but I refuse to go down. Although I don’t know who Ghost Z is, I did enjoy the feedback. It was me that sent the poems and pictures. I know it’s a little confusing to have two people with the same name. Nothing has really changed in this dump other than the fact that they took our shoes, which, in my opinion, was dumb as hell. We hurt ourselves enough playing ball in regular shoes, so imagine what’s gonna happen now that we only have shower shoes? When the inmates in our pod ask what was we pose to play ball in, they said “Buy the shoes off canteen.” Why the fuck do we want to pay $18.95 for shoes that ain’t gonna last a week. When damn near the whole jail has some, then we pay damn near $20.00 for them to sit in our cell all day until rec is open. If they’re gonna assign shower shoes, then they should give us shoes to play ball in, too. But, shit, it’s their world, we just living in it.


‘We got to drink out the sink at night like dogs’


How are you? I hope you’re doing good. I know it’s been a little while since the last time I wrote you and I’m sorry about that!! I hope you get this letter as soon as possible.

Lately the food has got better since the new company. The things I don’t like is how they took away our sweet bread and blueberry bread, and how they keep feeding us potatoes. But I believe that now we are eating real food. Aramark is still running canteen, but I think it’s only until the end of the year or January. But before they stopped doing the food, man, the food was bad and to me it seemed like they was cutting costs even more. But you best believe I’m going to hold their feet to the fire on this one. Thank you guys because this couldn’t have happened without y’all help.  Continue reading

‘Recreation and Racism’

Recreation and Racism (DAR 856)

Date: Friday, September 23, 2016

Officer Faulkner / DAR /856 and Sgt. Cole denied inmates their soccer time after their 30 minutes of basketball. Officer Faulkner at 10:15 a.m. approximately made a highly offensive racial slur comment towards all African-American inmates (being one himself), saying: “If you’re not Mexican, you can’t play soccer, and Mexicans can’t play basketball.” This was after the fact of him originally stopping inmates from playing basketball. Inmates and Faulkner debated play time. Continue reading

“I say keep the ‘out’ hours till 10pm daily”

Brother W_______,

I wanted to sincerely write you and thank you for kind and encouraging words.  As this is my first foray into the legal system (of any kind) I find myself both unequally and utterly unqualified for giving any feedback to those in IOA!  That being said, I would like to offer my two cents worth of observations in regards to the Durham system as a whole.

  1. The bond issue is indeed an inflated and burdensome system that truly only makes the bondsman and women wealthier on the backs of the families who would rather sell, beg for money from family/friends, and go into massive surety in order to obtain some resemblance of freedom for their loved ones.
  2. Food and nutrition must follow appropriate and proper nutritional guidelines as approved by the FDA.  I firmly believe that school lunches provide more variety and flavor than what we are served with.
  3. Guards & Hours: I truly appreciate the hard work (often thankless) of all the Sheriff’s staff.  I, personally, go out of my way to always say please and thank you and seek to ask about how they are feeling.  Respect generates respect.  I do believe that forcing the inmates back into their cells (without any negative actions to indicate this would be prudent) at 6:45 pm daily is both unnecessary and unfair.  From my rectangular observation post I can say that this early lock-back is unnecessary because for the fact that the lights stay fully on until midnight as well as the TV blaring, till that same hour!  It appears that this form of entertainment is solely for the CO’s benefit.  Most, if not all, adults do not begin to retire (via their cyrcadium rythm) at 10pm.  My only understanding as to policy is possibly overtired population.  But seeing the fact that most inmates take numerous naps during the day I find that highly unlikely.  I say keep the “out” hours till 10 pm daily unless disturbances (either corporately or individually) warrant removing this benefit away for a period of time.

In closing, I want to tahnk you once again for all that you and your volunteers and supporters do.

Very respectfully,

S.B., USN Ret.
Semper Gumbi.

‘If we weren’t down here doing it, they would have to…’


Hey, my name is —, but you can call me Blaze. Well, first off I want to say nice to meet you and yes I will be writing you a lot since I got your letter. I have seen a lot of things, so let me get started. Yes, use the name BLAZE in the letters (newsletter or in the IOA booklet–Thanks!!) Well, I worked in the kitchen here at DCJ and I seen things down there that wouldn’t have known if I did not work, such as: Bugs (gnats) flying all in the kitchen, in the food when it’s on the line to serve for the inmates, in the juice that the inmates drink, and when you tell the d.o.s or the Ararmark people that’s in charge, they say ‘you are in jail,’ and I say ‘what’s that got to do with it–these are still people’s food. Then when the inspection people come in they try to make us scrub and clean heard as hell to cover up the REAL PROBLEMS in the kitchen and if we try to talk/tell the inspector people what’s going on or try to show them anything they will get mad, look at us funny or worse FIRE US. that is crazy, it’s like they don’t care about us (Well, I know they don’t) Then they always pass inspection I don’t know how, has to be some under the table stuff going on or something, because the kitchen here is nasty. Mold on the walls, covered with paint, but you can see it and tell. Then it’s this lady down there named Pam who work for ARARMARK, too, she thinks she can talk to you any type of way, curse at you and think just because  you are an inmate and working in the kitchen she can do that and you just supposed to sit there (SMH). She knows if you say anything back, and she tell the man who hires you to work (Tyler) it’s over and you willl be fired and that’s not fair. That is why people don’t be wanting to come to work like that in the kitchen because she talk to you like you ain’t shit because you in orange/in jail. It is one new lady down there in the kitchen and she so sweet, kind, respectful, never get loud with you or curse at you, we need more people like her. First shift work from 3:30 a.m. or 4:00 till about 10:00 a.m. Working hard as hell, never get no good food for working, thank you or non-thing, just the same food as the inmates and a bye? Second shift work from 9 or 10 a.m til 6 or 8:00 pm, working like slaves while Aramark sit on they AZZ and talk shit to us workers all day. If we weren’t down here doing it, they would have to, you know? If they had more people down there like the New Lady and gave us different food, then the inmates, then more people would want to come to work…That’s it about the kitchen part.

Showers: These showers here are the worst and the water is, too. It’s rust, mildew all in the shower and bugs flying in the shower and in the pod. The water don’t even be hot most of the time (4 real)…How do you take a shower with Dial Antibacterial Deodorant soap and get out the shower still itching and bumps all over your skin, chest, back, stomach? The water got to be dirty, then when you drink the water out your sink it feels like something in your throat/mouth. We need all this stuff I talked about to change. Please help. Thanks I.O.A. Thanks 4 the support/help…We need it.

Blaze, till next time

“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

Lies and more lies

We got the letters from the sheriff slid under our doors around 2 AM the night of the protest (April 17). This letter, just like their statement on the news, is full of lies.

He says that it is not punishment but implemented for safety issues. If that were the case–why were all of the blocks placed on lockdown instead of the offending parties?

He states that it has to do with assaults on officers–even you said that on the news they said it was because an inmate overpowered an officer–this is not true. Even when one of us so much as kicks his door or refuses to go to his/her room, they “call code,” which means they speak a code over the radios, and any free officer in the building rushes to that block in case they need to get “physical.” I’ve witnessed officers break up fights between inmates and beat them in their faces with their fists just cause they were mad or just cause they could. No inmate(s) would jump on an officer cause we know that we might not survive it. Continue reading

Lock back mode


Thought I would write and tell you what’s going on in the Durham County Jail. I’m sure you’re aware that our free time has been the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., 4:00 – 6:45 p.m. and generally sometime between 9:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. On March 6th all of that changed. Now we only get out of our cells six hours a week. The whole jail has been on lock back mode since and they’re trying to do it permanently they say. It’s like a damn maximum security prison. I’ve been here almost 9 months and still haven’t been to court or given a plea. The food is alright except for dinner. They give you two sandwiches, cake, applesauce and that’s at 4:30-5:00 p.m. That means you have to go 13 hours with nothing to eat if you don’t have canteen till the next morning. I’d appreciate it if you could let everybody know what’s going on in this F’d up place.

T. S.

During demonstration, c.o.’s threaten to beat and taze inmates

Hey, —,

I’m glad to hear from someone like you and what you stand for is a real good thing, man. I was sitting in my cell reading the letter you sent me and I seen in one part of the letter you ask me if we could hear or see you all. Yea, we could see y’all outside the jail and on the news, too. Continue reading

‘Undercover’ Racist C.O.s

To who it concerns,
Let me introduce myself. My name is not important but they know me as Demon. The reasons I’m here are also not important. This letter only has one purpose. Josebird
Let me begin by telling you a little of Durham County Jail. There are 5 floors and each floor has 4 pods. A pod really contains 48 doors/dorms with #s. 16 of those dorms are double-bunked, meaning having two beds in it. The rest of the 48 are single-bunked. There is only one t.v. that the whole pod shares.
I’m 17 years old, and a Hispanic male. Durham County Jail (DCJ) offers only 1 hour of Hispanic television and only the news channel. I think that Hispanics should be able to watch more than 1 hour of TV throughout a whole day. Personally I don’t complain since I’m bilingual, yet there are others who think that and I just thought this would be an opportunity to tell others of this.
I think that some of the c.o.’s here are ‘undercoveredly’ racist. One example is the one of a c.o. name Cole, white male, looking fat, about 250-270 pounds and only 5’5″ or 5’6″. The incident that occurred was early in the morning when I happen to be watching TV. The channel was on the sports channel and everyone was tired of it. I got up and went to C.O. Mr. Cole to try and get the channel changed. When I asked “can you change it to 71” (and I quote everything verbatim) and he responded “change what” with a sarcastic voice. Common sense that the only thing someone can “change” there is the t.v. Someone else overhearing us came and said “Can you just change it to channel 71, damn, why you have to be like that?” Soon as he was done he walked off and Cole said “you can’t say please so I’m not changing it.” I responded “Yo, just change it, please.” He asked “Where are you from?” I said “Honduras” (yet I was born here). He said, “If you’re gonna come to this country and speak English speak it right.” I got irritated and said “Man, why you have to be racist?” He said “I’m not, I’m just saying you need to learn proper grammar to ask me to change the channel.” I was so pissed off I walked away since I couldn’t do anything about it. My boy J. P. was witness to this.