Striving together


I’m doing well considering the circumstances. How are things progressing? Yeah, I just had a birthday. I’m — years old…Thanks for wishing me a happy birthday, it’s much appreciated and very welcomed. My (family member) speaks so highly of everyone striving together in IOA. I’m very thankful for all of you, words cannot explain but maybe through our endeavors we can encourage one another. Continue reading

‘We not afraid’


Aug. 18-14

Hey Brother —-,

How is everything going on the outside? Some ol thing in here tryna make it day by day. I see that you have receive my old roommate name. He has the signs so he will be able to hold em up to keep the movement going down in —. I currently in –. Now I have sign up for the STARR program to help better myself and just to get free time out the pod. I miss my old roommate…but that’s was my homie we laugh and joke and play cards and chess all night till it breakfast time. I was mad a few days ago my little cousin was shot and I have no money to call home and see what happen. It was on the news a few days ago. I been stressing out very bad and I don’t have a court date and don’t know what’s going on with my case. 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

‘Justice is truly blind’

From Archie S.


How are you doing? Good I hope. Me I’m doing OK. I go to court this month, so that’s good news. Thank you so much for the paper and pictures. You can put this letter in Feedback and use my name. They treat us like we are nothing. They have no respect for us. It’s like we are no longer human. I feel hopeless for the justice system because it is truly blind. They don’t have the right diet for a type one diabetic. The give us our medicine when they feel like it. They do not care about us at all. Continue reading

Jailhouse Anthem

A hell of a way to live our days
Waking up each morning when somebody yells ‘trays!’
Police telling me when to eat and sleep
Now they saying I can’t have a pencil to keep!
Man all of this is more than I can take
In the cold of the nights, I get the shakes
Pod preacher man says love and peace
But he ain’t cured my homicidal tendencies
Look at the bright side, some of them say
And I in my abject misery
Kneel on the floor of my cell and pray
That someday I can return to society
I promised God a better man I would be
And to lie to Him is the worst of sin
Time to be the man mom wanted to see
And be a father to those children
One day coming I could have it all
Using the talents God has given me
But right now I just stare at cinderblock walls
Wondering if or when I’ll ever be free
I say the facts show I am innocent
But my public defender says that they’re irrelevant
Yeah I’m locked up but don’t offer me a plea
That is just going to annoy the hell out of me
A plea that I will have to refuse
Because I’m stuck in jail wrongly accused.


‘The people believe with all their hearts that they need the system to survive’

from a “convict” in a state facility.

Hey (IOA),

How is it going? It’s funny because I’ve been here now for about 2 months and I’ve finally settled in so I was going to write you to say hi and see whats going on and all of a sudden I get a letter from you.

First off, I’m doing good, I mostly live inside my head because it is the only place “they” cannot affect. I stay busy by working out, playing soccer, volleyball or basketball and I read a lot. I also just recently got a job in the kitchen on the morning shift. I make 40 cents a day I think, the highest paying job in there is $1.00 a day so what people say about slavery is correct. We get to eat a little extra but if you’re like me you take as much as you can, fuck them. If I get caught they will probably fire me, but I won’t get caught. Lol. Continue reading

Survey: ‘I would like to live in a world that is raceless’

How long have you been inside? 78 days

How many court appearances have you had? I have had one appearance.

How many times have you talked to your lawyer? I have talked with my lawyer 2 times.

What is the situation regarding your charge? (Awaiting sentencing, awaiting trial, awaiting appearance, etc.?) I am awaiting sentencing.

Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it. I have not been disciplined at DCDC.

What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? In my opinion DCDC’s biggest problems are the food there is no taste and breakfast is the same thing every other day. Also the cold showers. 

If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? The food. 

Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? Yes, my mother, father and wife have visited me while I have been in DCDC. I have not been told of any issues. 

We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? Not that I know of.

We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? The taste of the food is very bad. I have given my dog better smelling food.

What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail? I have never been to the library. As far as I know I didn’t think DCDC had any educational services which I believe they should have at the very least a GED program.

What do you think of the c.o.’s? The c.o.’s are OK but tend to yell and curse too much at us. Just because we are in jail doesn’t mean we are not people and should be given respect. 

How do you get along with other prisoners? I get along well with everyone. 

How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? They do not affect my ability to get along with others. 

What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? Mrs. McGee is a wonderful c.o.

Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened? I filed a grievance about a book I never got but I got a postcard saying to call this number. I gave it to Mrs. Walker and she said she would call it for me. Three days later I asked her if she called and she told me no so I asked her for it back and then I filed a grievance about it that was never responded to. It took her three weeks and me to keep asking her about it to get the postcard back and I don’t think she ever called. 

Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? No.

Some DCDC prisoners have suggested the idea of a prisoners council that would participate in making decisions about things at the jail. What do you think of such an idea? I do think the idea of a prisoners council would be a good idea for prisoners to solve problems we have. 

How could it work? What would it look like? I don’t know how it would work or what it would look like.

What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? DWIs brought me to jail and it’s sad but I believe it is very common. 

What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) I noticed that most prisoners are young black male here for either drugs or robberies. 

In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? In my opinion there is a relationship between race and incarceration. I just think race still plays a huge part in our world and that’s sad.

What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? I think social or economics have somewhat of a reason why people are locked up but most of it is poor choices. 

What do you think is the point of jail? Prison? The justice system? What do you think people on the outside think about people who are locked up? The point of jail or prison is for help people learn their lesson and keep the world safe from people that are said to be dangerous to the rest of the world. I believe people on the outside look down on people that are either in jail or been to prison. The jail and prison need more and better rehab services. 

What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? I would like to live in a world that is raceless and I believe that only way you get there is through education. 

From a longtime jail resident: ‘Will inmates stand behind their statements?’

February 12, 2014

Inside-Outside Alliance

P.O. Box 1353

Durham, NC 27701

Re: Introductions, My desire to help, and some info regarding incident I saw

I’m not sure 100% sure that is your name. I’m sorry if I’m off. You see, I’ve heard so much about you from Jean-Claude Rinehart (spelling?) when he shared a pod with me, but I’ve never been in direct contact with you.

I’d like to first introduce myself. My name is Raven A. and I have the unlucky distinction of being the current longest continuously incarcerated inmate of Durham County Jail. I have been here since February of 2010. That’s right, four years! Continue reading

Pleading to enter oblivion

What’s goodie 2 shoes lol,

I am diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder they just now put a label on it after 5 years since I first sought mental health help. Please look up my illness and get informed as to how casual (as if it’s not so serious) they make it seem. I was 15 then and when the fiery pitch black torture of what makes D different from the animals got to the point where I couldn’t bear any longer and the ultimate victim (me) snapped when I was 20. I have been in and out of mental hospitals and I suppose you just fill ’em full of meds for a few weeks then send them right out without any compassion or any informing the patient of what his illness is. Continue reading

Questions with no answers

Thanks for the books…I really appreciate it.

They have me on a probation violation. I was homeless. Just got a job working. How can I pay rent and probation on only $130. A week. Most rent costs $125 or more, and probation is $40 a month. How can I buy food, pay rent and probation on that? If I had an address I wouldn’t be in here now. They are trying to give me 17-30 months. Even after that where will I go when I get out? They won’t even try to reinstate my probation. If they could I know I can find a place to go. CJRC is what caused this whole mess. It is making me depressed.

In struggle,