Captain says: Speak English or not at all!


Hi, _____,

I know it has been awhile since hearing from me…Hey, though I’m far away here in Elizabeth City, NC, my hope is that you all are still able to help a spanish gentleman here, as well as all Hispanics locked up here with me. This man is Hispanic, lived in Durham, the western part. His name is N—- The administration here has taken him to solitary lock up twice for speaking spanish to other Hispanics. That’s all he’s done. He was locked up today for doing the same things in the prison dining hall at supper time. He was having a conversation with another Hispanic while eating, and a real arrogant, prejudiced captain, who goes by Captain Blow(e), told him to either speak English or nothing at all. When N—- ignored him, the captain said to him, ‘Look at me when I’m talking to you!!’ N— still refused (or didn’t understand), so he was put in handcuffs, hauled off to solitary confinement. A Black gentleman, a Captain Stokely, was the first captain to lock N—- up for the same thing. He was let out into population 30 days later. Now, he’s in again. Captain Blow is a caucasian (white male). Abuse of authority, here, racism, gross feeding, harassment, bogus disciplinary write ups, are all regular things in here where I’m at. So, today I was speaking with another Hispanic housed with me in the same dormitory and I told him I’d try to get N—- some help, a voice hopefully that will call here and speak to the prison superintendent about what’s going on here. His name is Mr. Taylor. Taylor. This incident is racism.

I’m asking you to call here or something, to help N— and other Hispanics like him. —-, Captain Blow carries himself daily in a threatening manner to all of us. Constantly abuses his power.

Also, the food that we’re given here is undercooked, raw, cold. The bread is mice-bitten. You’re given 5 minutes tops to eat your food. If you’re not finished, you’re threatened, yelled at, etc. There is in place here a grievance policy. To no avail!! No complaints by us are considered worthy to be addressed. Whenever we do complain to staff (officers) about their treatment towards us, we’re told by them, ‘If you don’t like it, write it up!’ knowing it will not go far. A voice is needed. These complaints are real!! The kitchen overseer here allows food to be served to us that is raw, cold, old, and at times the same meal is served 3 times in 5 days. In my closing: Thanks to all the I.O.A. affiliates for your continued support there in Durham, wherever!!


Horrifying stories are part of the territory when talking about jails and prisons. But the writer, who was in Durham previously, pleads for folks on the outside to do something especially about the punishment for a prisoner speaking Spanish. Not obeying orders–likely because he didn’t understand them–resulted in Jose Ocampo being murdered by Durham cop R.S. Mbuthia. In this case, with the orders being arbitrary and racist (to say nothing of illegal), it lands a prisoner in solitary confinement. Call or write Pasquotank Correctional Institution and demand a an end to this English-only practice and a censure of Captain Blowe:

Felix Taylor, administrator

(252) 331-4881

527 Commerce Drive 
Elizabeth City, N.C. 27906

‘That was really unfair’

Dear (IOA), EPSON MFP image

Hey! How are you? I’m just getting off 25 day lock-back. There was a guy who kept running his mouth about the military. I am a Operation Iraq Freedom vet. We were playing cards. I told him about 20 times to keep quiet about the military. He is a 16 year old kid. I got up from the table and accidentally hit my cup. It landed in his lap. Continue reading

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

‘When a C.O. or Police Officer does something…’

A young prisoner reflects on another young person’s death at the hands of police and ‘the law’ being above the law.

What’s up, ___. I’m just surviving in here. My lawyer told me I’m going to prison. Guess what? I’m locked back again. This time I’m in the hole. Anyway, I did get the items you sent me. Thank you. It is crazy how that 17 year old boy (Jesus Huerta) got killed. Continue reading

Tensions are building between blacks and whites

Besides perceived preferential treatment based on race, the writer weighs in on less rec time, library services, and toilet paper.

Wow, Almost a Year In!


It’s me again, would like to touch back with you and give some of the current events of what has been going on in the jail. One of the issues I think I should let you be aware of is a fight that broke out in pod 5B Oct. 27 at about 4:30 pm. Now I am going to tell you that this was between a black guy and a white guy. One of the guys talked shit to the other, provoked him to fight and come into his cell so the white dude was young and thought he had to prove a point and himself so he went into said black dude’s cell and they fought. Continue reading

‘How can I do something about officers that are above the law?’

We have gotten other reports of c.o.s wearing special gloves to beat prisoners.

My name is —. I’m currently housed at the Durham County Jail, but I am awaiting transfer to federal custody so I should be leaving sometime soon. My question for you is what can I do about being assaulted twice by detention officers here? I was beaten pretty badly. Continue reading

Pencils, cold cells and whuppings

October 14

Just to give a little what is going on, I’m pretty sure you heard about they are taking everybody pencils from them. They want us to come to them and get the pencils so they can put your name on a sheet of paper, letting them not forget you have a pencil and after you write your letter they want it back and you are pretty much where you’re being watched. Continue reading