“AT LEAST SOME PEOPLE CARE!”

Hello, and thanks for caring, because in here no staff does! I’m writing back the day I received your letter. I also received one from a G__ W__. Give him my thanks also please. My name is ____ ____. I graduated from Southern High School in Durham, NC, in 2014. I’m 21 years old, and I also have a 2 year old baby girl that I cannot wait to get out to and hold so tight. I must honestly say nothing in here (Durham County Jail) is good or soothing, nothing or no one. I have been in here 65 days now as of today and my jail cell has no cold water. So I’m forced to either drink the hot water or wait hours until the CO finally lets me out to get water from the water hose faucet, but by that time I may be dead of thirst, so I just drink hot water. You also have a lot of relationships going on between the COs. One day a female officer and an inmate got into a confrontation with each other, and the female officer ended up telling her boyfriend, which is a male officer here also, and the next day he ended up stepping to the inmate and they had a confrontation. The shit is just so unprofessional.

Also, a lot of favoritism gets showed beyond these walls. We also get a limited amount of tissue, so I use mine wisely. I could go on and on, page after page, but I’ll save some for the next newsletter. You will hear from me soon. TTYL!!!

AT LEAST SOME PEOPLE CARE!

-FF

“this for the Durham Association of Educators”

Dear g______ ________

I’m doing alright thanks for asking, yes we are doing a creative writing class where we get to express ourselves in different kinds of ways.  Rap, poem, drawings, speeches, & a lot more.  Curtis Barnette [another detainee] started the class & we sign up for it.  We start at 12 or when the multi-purpose room ain’t at use & any action book or drawing book is good & a dictionary, too.  I like making great drawings so I’m like more tattoo drawings.

this for the Durham Association of Educators, & the union of public school teacher: thank you for focusing on our Education.  I’m still enrolled in my base school.  I was 17 when I got here, now I’m 18.  I’m up in here for a couple a months now.  The government should focus on building schools & jobs instead of making money for the jail, b/c this jail system is so crooked.  I’m here with no proof of me committing any crime of what they blaming me for – no weapon found, no evidence of any stolen goods, no witnesses.  I’ve been just waiting for my court dates & they cancel my court date every time its been scheduled.  My lawyer just once he came and see be.  I haven’t been to court at all.  The DAs lying on everything, the court appointed lawyers ain’t helping, to be honest.  Fuck Durham County Jail, they want me to feel down & plead guilty so they can make money off me.  You know what they chose the wrong person, b/c I’m staying strong.  I got into the word of God & he helps me to stay strong & for my family & loved ones who support me they can’t even come to visit me.  I only saw my mom 3 times & now they ain’t allowing her to come.  I’m against the video visitation.  So many young teens like my age die in this cells & they just say they committed suicide or natural cause.  It ain’t true.  The COs allow it to happen & if they ain’t do nothing about it that’s how they move up to new positions.  The canteen be ripping us off of our money, they don’t return our money when we order canteen & they don’t bring our canteen, & they act like they don’t know nothing.  Man shyt crazy.  I can’t even trust the law & I never did & never will.  I speak for all my latinos up in here.  I got a friend here & they don’t let him have any visit.  His family want to see him but they don’t allow him to have any visit, & when they feel they loosing our case they put a deportation order on my people with out having proof of anything.  We get crazy rash on our body b/c of the sope & our clothes are being washed with only water & we get rash from it & we get back pain from the bed they give us.  They treat us like a bunch of animals.  They hold us over years & trying to make us commit suicide & if you don’t have money you can’t get no medical attention or get the medication you need to live.  Shyt crazy man.  They block the phone sometimes so we can’t call anyone.  People are still here fighting o live & some lost their life fighting the system.  Thank you IOA for working on protest to help us students & anyone up in jail.  Thank you and god bless y’all.

 

Sincerely,

ghost z:.

Letter to Wendy Jacobs from a Detainee in Durham County Jail

May 30, 2017

ATTN: Chairwoman Wendy Jacobs
To: The Honorable County Commissioners
Durham County, North Carolina

I write and appeal to each of you who revere and fear the Lord God Almighty, to search your hearts and consciences and hear my complaints, and do your duty in Godly fashion.  Keep in mind that as God has allowed you each to be in authority over how the Durham jail is operated, you each will be held accountable for whatever decisions you make when your every knee is bowed before Christ’s Judgement Throne to give an account of your life’s deeds.

We all can agree that jail is not a resort, and hardly anyone wants to be detained herein.  But for those of us who are here, be we guilty or innocent of the charged offense(s), we should be treated with dignity, respect and fairness.  Nevertheless, we also know that many abuses exist in jails nationwide and your office has the ability and duty to curb and put an end to such improprieties in the Durham County Jail.  If not, then such violations and abuses will continue to exist with your Board’s imprimitur.

 

VIDEO VISITATION

What is the purpose of video visitation?  The Sheriff claims it’s only an alternative – not a replacement – to face-to-face visits.  If that’s true, then it would be advantageous to those who live hundreds of miles away and out of state, provided they can utilize Skype or some other home computer video to implement such visits.

I believe most detainees’ families live in or near Durham.  If these family members are relegated to coming to the jail, only to sit before a monitor downstairs to see and communicate with us through another monitor upstairs, that would be a travesty of justice, an unnecessary invasion of privacy on our visits, and a waste of tax dollars.
Instinct and history tells me that video visitation is not going to be an alternative form of visitation.  Rather, due time, face-to-face visits will be phased out to give the Sheriff a captive audience to charge exorbitant fees for visits.  Otherwise, why try to fix what’s not broken?

For the most part, detainees in jail ahve not been convicted of any crime.  Under our system of jurisprudence, we are supposed to be deemed innocent until we are proven guilty.  But in reality, this jail treats us in opposite fashion with this Board’s seal of approval.

 

MAIL

Our mail is unlawfully censored daily, particularly by a black female officer named Snipes.  Too often she sits in the hallway outside the programs office opening and reading our incoming letters, line-by-line, on both sides of each page.  She does this to every letter her hand touches in the name of “security.”  She is just nosy as can be and knows she can get away with this abuse of authority.  She is not authorized to even touch our mail.

 

TELEPHONE CALLS

Likewise, our telephone calls are all recorded and are vetted by law enforcement to include the District Attorney’s office.  We don’t get to listen to the Sheriff’s and DA’s conversations and strategies concerning us, so why should they have this unfair advantage to hear ours?  Our most intimate conversations are violated by jail officials – telephone calls that cost us or our families an arm and a leg to utilize.  And now, the Sheriff wants to record our personal visits and charge this captive audience ridiculous prices for that too.  When will this Board put a stop to “Big Brother’s” abuses upon our privacy rights?  We are detainees – not convicted felons.

If we could afford bond, many of us would not be subjected to these privacy rights abuses.  We could talk unimpeded with absolute privacy to our attorneys and loved ones.  Simply because we cannot afford these staggeringly high and needlessly excessive bonds, the Sheriff is permitted to fleece our families and us in a myriad of senseless for-profit schemes.

 

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE ABUSES

Just a few years ago sheriffs did not outsource canteen and telephone services provided to detinees.  They provided such services themselves, just as the NC Dept of COrrection continues to do today (canteen services) at a 15% to 25% markup.

Allowing the Sheriff to outrsource canteen services, as well as our daily meals, invites abuse.  Rather than go with the vendor who offers the most reasonable products at the most savings to detainees (and our struggling families and friends who sacrifice to help support us), the Sheriff readily rejects them.  Why?  It’s all about greed and profit.  The Sheriff wants a 50% kickback off of every canteen item sold to us!  In all other entities, this practice is called illegal price gouging.  Here again, your Board is well aware of this unconscionable practice, yet turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to it.

Detainees are already deprived of their freedom and lose income, held by excessive bonds.  Why would any fair-minded person want to exacerbate our hardships by imposing grossly inflated canteen prices on us for the most generic brand items, e.g. one square packaged Ramen Noodle soup costs us $0.82, yet you can buy these same soups 6 for $1.00 at any Food Lion or Dollar Tree and they still make a profit selling at such price.

There is supposed to be a service fee of $1.00 for a pre-paid GTL telephone card.  A $10.00 card plus $1.00 service fee is supposed to cost us $11.00 total, or $21.00 for the $20.00 GTL card, but we are charged a whopping $7.00 service fee (profit) for each, having to pay $17.00 for a $10.00 card and $27.00 for the $20.00 card.  This is highway robbery and this Board’s sense of propriety surely knows this.

Hebrews 13:17 states in pertinent part: Obey your leadrs and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who MUST given an account.  I implore you each to depart from politics and from doing business as usual and do what is godly and righteous.  Jesus is often quoted to say: when you have done this (whatever you do) unto the least of these, you have done it unto me, Matthew 25:35-40.

It’s easy to shun those in jail and to care more about appearances to your constituents.  But you each will pay a steep penalty if you fail to exercise the God-given authority you have been entrusted.  If your conscience has not been seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2) then you will do what is just and equitable.

Please put a stop to the Sheriff’s abuse of the canteen system.  The annual budget your office approves for the Sheriff’s office is more than sufficient for all of its needs; in fact, it’s excessive.  The Sheriff should not be allowed to operate any “for profit” program against his detainee charges.  Again, such practice invites abuse administratively and monetarily.

The Sheriff’s office and Jail are stacked with excess employees; it’s like a huge welfare system.  Many of the jail’s detention staff are obese, out of shape, cannot promptly respond to emergencies and are paid well over $50 and 60 thousand dollars a year, a total waste of tax payers’ money, who sit in an office all day.  A lot of Pod officers are overweight, too.

There needs to be a qualitative management program put into effect for several reason.  All overweight personnel’s names should be placed on a list requiring mandatory weight loss over a specified period of time or be terminated.

A time-in-motion study should also be conducted to get rid of excessive personnel.  Too many people are assigned to do the same job but only few do the actual work.  I say this in all sincerity: you could reduce the actual personnel in the Sheriff’s department by 33 and 1/3% and get an increase in production by 50% by requiring the remaining staff to do their jobs.  A lot of cuts need to be made at the top in administrative and longevity positions, who demand the lion’s share of salaries.  If they had comparable jobs in the private sector they would have long ago been terminated for failure to produce, and their redundant job slots would have been eliminated.

There are ample people here at the jail who could easily operate the canteens (as Wake County Jail Sheriff’s staff do) to eliminate the existing price-gouging practice.  The same applies to the kitchen.  If our military can train and provide its own cooks, why doesn’t the Sheriff’s office still provide this service?  It would certainly help reduce contraband from entering in by private vendors providing such services and would reduce costs.

Let me comment on the new ABL management group that was hired 9 months ago.  ABL promised to improve the quality of our food by leaps and bounds provided they were paid the additional money demanded.

The first two weeks ABL came on board we were provided fresh bananas for breakfast on Saturdays, and then that stopped.  We still get grits or oatmeal (without sugar) each morning – no meat – but a turkey sausage gravy on Fridays.  The only improvement we see is the cheap plastic bag of milk we get daily and the elimination of soy producets.  We get a lot of moulded apples and oranges, no fish products at all, and maybe 3 times we have received some tough-to-chew greens.  The lack of fresh vegetables causes a lot of skin disorders.  We also get lots of unpalatable cole slaw and wilted lettuce as poor substitutes for green leafy vegetables.

Had Aramark been given the same amount of money as ABL, we would be provided more wholesome meals.  Aramark did give us baked chicken for our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  After many complaints, ABL gave us baked chicken on New Year’s only.  ABL likes to feed us patties for lunch and supper, with wilted lettuce and baked potato fries and molded fruit as a whole meal.  That might work for teens and kids but not for adults

Why is it difficult for us to get dry cereal like corn flakes, bran or rice krispies or something similar to them?  Why can’t we buy a salad tray for $2.00 as ABL sells to staff – a salad that is wholesome and contains fresh veggies and meat?  It’s punitive to deny us a mere chef’s salad.

Why are we not served any fish products ever by ABL?  What happened to the fish sandwich that schools and even prisons serve?  ABL is as greedy as they can be.  They put excessive salt in food items that we often cannot eat.  And when we complain, they get an attitude or claim to still be training cooks!  And why do they put nasty tasting stewed tomatoes in scrambled eggs?

Lastly, jail officials put too much emphasis on sports and entertainment on the jail’s TVs.  Every morng when TVs come on at 9 am, they are automatically placed on channel 31, ESPN, for an hour or more.  At noon they watch TMZ, a celebrity entertainment news program.

TVs are supposed to be on Univision from 5pm to 6pm for Hispanics and from 6pm till 7pm for the local and world news.  But too often staff will not turn TVs to the news, catering ot the youths’ desire to watch videos, gangsta movies, and other incorrigible programs.

The jail has all but cut out newspapers for us to stay informed – a constitutional violation.  We get one newspaper a week if we get to go to the library on our scheduled day to read it.  We should get newspapers daily, as well as get to watch local and world news.

Commissioners, why don’t y’all make surprise visits to the jail during lunch and supper time so you can see for yourselves what is being provided us to eat?  Visit the pods so you can see what is on our food trays.  The Sheriff is only going to show you the good food items ABL provides for staff to eat.

These problems will continue to fester and become more systematic until you each say “ENOUGH” and put a stop to it.  Please make some positive changes.  Give the food contract back to Aramark (with the same money you now give to ABL) until the jail takes this responsibility back.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

KFO

PS: your office controls the Sheriff’s budget.  You thus have a lot of influence as to what occurs in the Sheriff’s office.  So use it!

‘One voice is but a whisper, a thousand are a mighty roar’

Dear IOA

I am a female inmate currently in custody at Durham County jail. First, I want to praise the work and efforts made to give voice to any and all parties willing to speak out against issues that would otherwise go unaddressed. As a temporary resident in this jail I am expressing the need for all inmates, male and female, to be properly screened and searched. Lice were discovered in 5D (women’s housing unit). The woman came into the facility with them, and was a part of general population for nearly a week before they were discovered. She was given one treatment, placed on medical lockback and virtually forgotten about besides meals. When approximately two weeks had passed, there was a breech in communication. One squad was told she was medically cleared, when she had not been. She again joined general population, only to be locked back until she was released. There have been grievances filed about females grooming and styling hair in the eating area, which is highly unsanitary, but no one has formally addressed this matter. Another issue in the female pod is the constant unnecessary request for toilet paper and feminine products, which should be kept on hand. There is no reason a woman should have to wait for items that are necessary to ensure good hygienical practices. Continue reading

Numbers #

9-22-16

Dear Brothers and Sisters here at DCJ,

There is always strength in numbers and it’s more of us than them. To start off we must use our mind and pen. We must flood them with paperwork. Like, write a legal complaint and give it to our lawyers or public defenders to make copies and file on our behalves. This way it won’t get lost or misplaced. We need to push those dirty azz trays back out the door. We got to keep it hot on ABL Management new food service company. They may start out great but it’s all about the money and the bottom line. They will do all the right things to keep their foot inside the door. We are going to see, keep eyes open.

We have to stop their money flow. You do the math. It’s simple. $17 or $27 for those phone cards every week to 10 days before you re-up on one. $17 x 3 = $51. $27 x 3 = $81. That’s a 30-day period. And if you get one a week, times that by 4.

Just buy a few stamps and see what you save. Numbers don’t lie.

I heard a C.O. say that she was not concerned about our names, only the body count, only the numbers #. You need a # to use the phone, you need a # to order canteen, you got a # on your wrist, you got a # on your cell door, you got a # on your laundry bag.

I’ll do my part to collective action here because some things are best said unspoken.

Just know that, small pieces makes a big pie. Word will spread so keep your ear to the vent. Help is on the way.

Day 90 (DCJ)

Still in the struggle

Coy AKA Plastic

P.S. Sidebar

We need to get on our knees and pray to God for his help. When God shows up God will show out!!! Prayer is a powerful tool if we apply it collectively every day. At 12:50 to 1:00 as a group. Strength in numbers, and watch things happen for the good. So let’s not play with it. Let’s step out on faith.

“the jail system is mis-run and mis-managed”

Dear Mr. W_______,

Thanks for the letter and n4.  It came at a much needed time.  I’m glad to hear there are concerned citizens who care about how the jail system is mis-run and mis-managed!  It more often than not sends people worse off back into neighborhoods angry, hurt, and totally demoralized and at times animalistic!  Its truly a system designed to oppress and exploit the lesser, poorer persons in society, 1. high bonds, 2. wrong search and seizures at homes (my house was trashed and 1100 dollars stolen), 3. very poor sleeping quarters (my dogs have better), 4. slop for food, 5. the cells are freezing while we get little clothing and blankets 5. husbands/wives should at least be allowed to visit if incarcerated at the same time (I fit that category, the family is the fabric of society), 6. they arrested us quickly and put us in cages, yet the legal process once here is slow and tedious, even the process of bond reduction takes weeks all the while people lose good jobs and families are damaged sometimes beyond repair.  The jail system is a business of making money, not reform and helping most who may have made a bad choice or mistake become a better citizen, neighbor, co-worker, or friend (cuz that’s what 99% of us are!).  I’m very glad to hear that our neighbors are getting educated and involved, cuz believe it or not…this could happen to any of us!  And unless you have access to 10-50k your whole life could change forever and your family’s also.  The phone situation is laughable, the grievance officers are simply yes people, as I’ve made several complaints and requests with zero results or even responses back.  I thought in our legal system you’re innocent until proven guilty.  Well that doesn’t appear to be the cause here.  All and all its hard to believe this is happening in the United States of America.

 

Signed, E.Q.Y.

We Need OSHA: “We’re not the animals they’re treating us like”

3-27-16

Hello,

I’m Tony King and I give I.O.A. permission to use my name and letters at anytime for the sake of awareness of all amplified voices unless I withdraw my consent verbally or written.

Update: the kitchen’s inmate staff is now being worked to the bone, just to cover any tracks of anything that shows lack in the D.C.J. staff members. We’ve experienced a hot tray for dinner for the first time. Hopefully it will continue. As far as officers go, there is another who decided to show their true colors this night of 3-24-16 by the name of Officer Perry – a male. 5-B. So, let’s dissect the issue. Majority of the time, us inmates are locked back or out in the pod, the officer is sitting at their desk usually doing nothing is the most honest thing one could say. So, after only 1 hr into his work schedule, Officer Perry at 9:00pm states he’s not going to open our doors to our cell unless he feels like it. So I had a moment of clarity which was: Officer Perry clearly isn’t satisfied with the pay he receives to just sit and push some buttons. Also, when we’re let out of cell at 9:00pm, it’s a wonderful privilege that’s appreciated 100% until you get an officer such as Officer Perry who instead of pushing the button that opens all doors so we can exit cell, the officer will walk to each door of at least 47 doors and unlock them only to cut into our free time at the least 10-15 minutes, which we do not receive back. Sad isn’t it?

Also, officers fail to follow protocol when opening your door allowing an inmate in your room without permission. This happened to me tonight. I asked was there a protocol when opening door. He stated yes, however it’s clear protocol wasn’t followed, and luckily nothing was stolen due to me catching the issue in time. Officers in general also lack respect when it comes to your personal phone calls that may be $10-$20. The officers sometimes just hang up on your phone call without notice, leaving you with the loss of money and an unfinished phone call, all with no consideration for the inmate. Last but definitely not least, there is, I repeat, there is something in the water we drink and bathe with. It is a thin foggy white film that floats in and on top of your water. Also, the water you bathe with is so harsh it chafes your skin very badly.

Well, it’s been a pleasure. Hope to talk soon.

P.S. I’m looking forward to letters and useful information, if possible.

(I’m not sure if you all wrote me back or not. I have not received any mail entirely. Please feel free to do so or maybe they’re holding mail as usual.)

Also, for all medical visits here at Durham County Jail it will cost you $20, unless you’re dying, is what the nurse told me. I asked for the medical policy and was told that they could provide me so I wouldn’t be confused about how to be seen appropriately. I stated: it was my (Right) to have this information, and was told again there is nothing to give you, but if you’re sick she said, put in a sick call not a grievance cause it usually is the least concern. I said, wow, she sure isn’t educated as the last nurse I spoke with that addressed my needs.

(And thanks to the Post Office for the 1 pair of socks donated to each inmate.)

Also, I’ve heard specifically from inmate kitchen staff that fruit flies / gnats are all over the kitchen and sometimes have crawled onto the food that they serve us. Kitchen staff has also said when they notify the kitchen authority of the issue, they threaten them to mind their business if they wish to continue working in the kitchen. So, basically if you notify staff of these health related issues you’re fired from your kitchen position. I personally witnessed the jails head kitchen officer come to 4C pod and make a mockery of the guy who found the maggots, say strip him of his blue uniform immediately. He no longer works in the kitchen anymore and never will, not while I’m working here. OSHA, please save us. We’re not the animals they’re treating us like. Even a dog deserves and receives better treatment than this. OSHA just needs to come unannounced and justice will be served. Please help us.

-Tony King