‘They’re trying to get over on us inmates’

May 14

What’s good IOA? Thanks for writing. Ain’t nothing changed, it only gets worse by the day. To answer your question about the whole video visitation IDK what the hell is going on. I’ve heard one too many stories. Continue reading

‘The only way they know they’re fine is through a visit’

How you doing?

Thanks for writing. It’s always good to hear from the outside even if it’s from a stranger. I happened to have read a magazine you guys have published that someone left behind before, and it was good to hear that people aren’t afraid to voice their opinion. About this (video) visitation, I think it’s bogus because a lot of parents come to visit their kids and the only way they know that they are fine is through a real visit. Continue reading

Video visitation: ‘It simply shouldn’t happen!’

Dear friends!

I was very glad to get your letter.

Thank you much for efforts to memorialize Niecey. It is extremely painful for me to think about her death.

Yes, I saw you many times on the streets in Durham. I used to work in one of the restaurants in downtown. But never did hear you being outside at the jail like now. I am on the 5th floor. Certainly I support from all my heart the protests against video visitation. It simply shouldn’t happen!! And “upset” about it is not enough to say!

…Thank you for your attention. With love and respect, F.L.

 

‘This damn jail is destroying my family’

What’s going on? Sorry it’s taken me so long to write back, but let’s just say I have not been myself lately. Sometimes I don’t know what or how to feel. Because I am so weighed down by personal issues and with the fact of being incarcerated for a year now. As far as this jail goes it’s still the same slave ship it has always been. These people act like they care about us, but they really don’t. They have made it much harder for our people to see us. Speaking of which, I have not seen my kids in 3 months. And that is the only way I can maintain. Hell, I have a son that’s about to be a year old, and one that’s soon to be 8 years old. I can’t take not seeing them…This damn jail is DESTROYING my family! Continue reading

A Glorified Phone Call

Pictured above is one of eight video screens installed on the ground level of the DCDF. These will be where friends, family and loved ones see the detainee with whom they have scheduled a visit. As you can see, they will speak through a telephone receiver. Upstairs, detainees will go to the visitation room, where they will sit down at one of the windows, and, instead of see their visitor at the window in front of them, will look into a tablet-sized screen and speak into a telephone receiver. As this photo makes clear, our rallying cry—“video visitation is a glorified phone call”—is spot on.

Although the Renovo (owned by GTL) online visitation scheduling system is currently allowing people to schedule video visits*, there is no word about this in the lobby at DCDF. In fact, hanging on the wall near the scheduling kiosk in the lobby, there are laminated instructions from Pay-Tel, the jail’s former telephone service provider (contract ended in June 2015). Also hanging on the lobby walls in two different places is a brochure celebrating a “Recovery Celebration” that is happening somewhere in Durham in September or happened last September (it is unclear). There is also no word about the fact that the Renovo system was “upgraded,” meaning that people with older operating systems on a home, work or public computer, or on a personal device, can no longer use the online system to schedule a visit, and therefore must schedule at the lobby kiosk.

Sheriff Mike Andrews and DCSO spokesperson Tamara Gibbs have claimed that video non-visitation will make for a safer environment and will save the county money. They have made this claim without ever saying how (and media has not forced them to provide reasoning, despite the fact that it is a preposterous claim). The online scheduling system does suddenly show wording about purchasing visits, internet visits, and the possibility of video nonvisits having a cost (see screenshots below). As always, changes are made and detainees and their families are not informed about them.

The station pictured here, and the seven alongside of it, are undoubtedly objects worthy of our unmitigated wrath and fury. In the great and long tradition of Ned Ludd, these machines should be summarily and swiftly smashed to bits or simply pulled out of their docking stations and trashed. But, even if that is done, we must remember, it is not the machines that are really the problem, nor are they the most suitable targets of our wrath. Rather, it is what the machines represent: a belief on the part of those in power that they can justify the increasing degradation of detainees and prisoners and their loved ones. Andrews, who never shows his face, and instead sends his lackey, Paul Martin; Couch, the interim detention director and so-called head of security; and the county commissioners, especially those who approved the video visitation plan (Wendy Jacobs, Brenda Howerton, Ellen Reckhow). They must be held accountable.

*We invite folks to share any and all information about experiences they have had using the scheduling system or with the video non-visit terminals. Share to our Facebook wall, as a comment on this blog, or via email (insideoutsidealliance@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘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