‘Still being held hostage from the sun!’

April 6, 2017

IOA–

What’s good IOA? Ain’t shit changed in this hell hole but the date. “Still being held hostage from the sun!” The jail still refuses to treat us like human beings. You know it’s been a whole thirty one days since I wrote my last letter and they still haven’t fixed the damn kiosk in our pod. They come on and look at it like everything is just normal. They’re making it hard on themselves and us because we have to ask for paper sick calls and canteen sheets, then they want to bitch and complain. The medical people take forever to check the medical box and when they do it’s still a wait. But they want that 20 dollars on command.

As far as canteen goes, Pam is cool she tries to get her job done the best she can but wherever they found (the other) girl they need to send her back because she always fucking some shit up and eating all the chips and shit. That high-ass canteen is meant for us. To those that protest for us and was willing to get locked up on March 13 to stand up on our behalf about this visitation thing, I say thank you.

Until next time–

Ghost

‘Face-to-face visits are the only time we feel human’

Hi,

It was good to get a letter from you in this dark place. How are you? I’m doing about as good as I can in here, you know. I read the magazine (feedback). It’s nice, very informative and REAL!  I feel that the video visitation is a horrible idea because it’s the one time for twenty minutes to be free again and be a father and talk to and catch up with your children’s life, to be a husband/boyfriend and speak with your significant other and feel human again. I am for face-to-face visits. It’s the only time we as detainees feel human and are actually connected to our real lives outside of this filthy, overcrowded hell on Earth. Continue reading

Durham Democrats Oppose Video Visitation

On Saturday, April 1, the Durham County Democratic Party met for its annual county convention. The following is the text of a resolution that they passed opposing video visitation at the Durham County Jail.

A RESOLUTION CALLING FOR OUR COUNTY DETENTION CENTER TO WITHDRAW ITS PLAN TO ADD VIDEO VISITATION

Whereas; Eliminating, or even minimizing, in-person visits (visits behind plexi-glass in Durham County) can affect recidivism rates. Allowing inmates to see friends, family and loved ones face-to-face (even when behind plexi-glass as in Durham County) can reduce their chances of re-offending once they get out of jail, according to a 2015 study called “Screening out Family Time,” conducted by the Prison Policy Initiative. More personal communication improves an inmate’s well-being, while video visits make the contact less personal. (Screening out Family Time,” conducted by the Prison Policy Initiative.)

Whereas; Prison and jail visitation policies should recognize that family support is crucial to maintaining the relationships between those incarcerated and those who love them, especially as it pertains to developing and maintaining bonds between parents and children. Every available study agrees: Best practices for developing those bonds involve in-person visitation.(This would include current plexi-glass visitation as in Durham Detention Center.)
(www.grassrootsleadership.org/videosvisitation)

Whereas; Using video visitation technology requires computer literacy, which becomes a barrier for many desiring to use the service. Even those with a firm grasp of computer technology report frustration dealing with the many glitches and interruptions of service. Given the demographics of those in American jails and prisons – poor, mostly minority, a significant portion of whom speak Spanish as a first language – this technology may prevent any meaningful communication. (Public Policy Center, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition)

Whereas; The Durham County Detention Facility detains people who have not been convicted of any crime at the time of detainment, may only be unable to pay a few hundred dollars to be released while awaiting trial, may only suffer from mental illness, does not warrant the hardship of video visitation to the detainee and/or their family.

Whereas; Currently our Sheriff says he has no plans to make video visitation the only method of visitation, he, nor any county official, has any way of guaranteeing that in the future. We do know it will be expensive to implement and maintain for the county and potentially for the citizens trying to visit detainees, (ie: Wake County charges visitors $1.50 a minute) (http://wunc.org/post/advocates-question-plans-video-visitations-durham-jail#stream/0)

Therefore; be it resolved that the Durham County Democratic Party requests that the Durham County Detention Center NOT incorporate video visitation as a means of visiting persons detained in the county jail.

Be it further resolved that the Durham County Democratic Party requests the Durham County (Commissioners) and City (Council) and all Durham County elected officials not support, nor budget for any video visitation at the Durham County Detention Facility.

‘I am TOTALLY against having ‘visits’ on a screen’

Feb 21 2017

IOA

What’s up. Thanks for writing. I’m living, so I can’t complain. I am one of the inmates that’s TOTALLY against having visits on a fucking video screen. It’s already bad enough they read our mail and the phones are tapped, now they want to record us on video. They’re just trying to find another way to railroad inmates and their families. Who wants to drive all the way downtown to “visit” their loved ones on a screen when they’re right in the same building? Continue reading

‘Sucked into the system because I fit a description’

Hey–

My name is —, but everyone knows me as 700. This is my first time getting charged with anything in my life. I’ve been here 8 months and have only been to court once (after first appearance) to have my $650,000 bond reduced to $150,000, which is still too much even after I told the judge I was working at Kroger and attending — High and living on my own. I mean, I only just turned 18 while I’ve been in here. He still gave me an out the roof bond, it’s like one day I’m up, the next I get sucked into the system because I fit a description–”pssh” yeah mufucking right. And don’t get me started on this new video visitation shit. It don’t make sense why our peoples got to come down here just to “face time” their loved ones for 20 minutes. It’s already bad enough with the scarce amount of time we get, now I gotta talk to my people through a camera, ain’t that what cell phones are for? But this money hungry jail couldn’t care less what the kings and queens in this jail go through. It’s like the one thing you look forward to after being here so long is getting took away. And could someone tell me why co’s are wearing three layers, a uniform and a jacket and we in here freezing our asses off and get put on lockback for having too many jumpsuits? That shit’s crazy.

–700

‘It’s about to be rough all over’

February 16, 2017

2:20 PM

Hello,

How are you doing? Well I would like to start off by saying that I am so sorry for taking so long to write you guys (IOA) back. This letter is well overdue, but I hope I’m not too late. I hope you all (IOA) are doing well and this letter gets to you quickly.

Well I have been doing ok, given the circumstances I’m in. I have been having a lot on my mind these past few months, but other than that and trying to stay out of trouble, I have been ok. What’s been going on with me? Well, not too long ago I had a talk with my lawyer and found out that after almost two years (22 months) the D.A. is just now getting the autopsy back. Which should have been back, but as you already know Durham County justice system is messed up and they will do anything as well as whatever they want to do to you. Continue reading

Class War on the Color Line: Reform and Repression at the Durham County Jail

More than a year after the Sheriff’s department’s murder-by-medical-neglect of Matthew McCain, the Durham County Jail is, once again, in the news.  On Tuesday, January 3, after receiving letters from almost a hundred detainees and after three individuals blocked the entrance to the jail on the night of November 18, declaring it #ANightWithNoDetentions, the Durham Human Relations Commission released ten recommendations for how to improve conditions at the plantation on Mangum street.  Some of these, most notably that a community-based research team be allowed to do a survey in the jail, were things that detainees, their families, and the community at large have been demanding for a long time.  Others were extrapolations from what detainees wrote to the commission, and what members of the public said in a forum the HRC held on September 15 of last year, including concerns about mental health, corporate price-gouging of detainees and their families, bail, and the Sheriff’s department’s cooperation with ICE.

Then, on January 6, the News and Observer reported that the jail will move to video visitation this summer and that retrofits are already underway.  Inside-Outside Alliance has known for some time that this was in the pipeline – Global Tel’s latest contract to provide phone service in the jail includes a provision for them to run a video visitation system – but we’ve never had a definite timeline before.  Now it appears that, over the course of this summer, the jail will be retrofitted and its policies rewritten so that in-person visitation will be eliminated and replaced exclusively with visitation-via-videoscreen.  It should go without saying that depriving detainees of even the limited in-person interaction with friends and loved ones that they now experience at visitation is the height of inhumanity even for an institution like the Sheriff’s department that has raised contempt for human life to the level of a ghastly art form.  We should also note that GTL advertises video-visitation as a way to derive profit from and reduce the costs of inmate visitation. Continue reading