CHECK THE MIRROR

L.O.D. has to be a vehicle of advancement.  It must be understood by all members and soldiers in this struggle that in and of itself ignorance is our greatest enemy.  Through ignorance we are made afraid.  Through ignorance we’re impoverished.  Through ignorance we remain unskilled and unmotivated in the working world and repeatedly fall victim to the many pitfalls that ignorance provides for us.  By designs drawn up and set in motion many years ago we’ve been trained to be so ignorant that we don’t even recognize our enemy.  In ignorance we blindly follow fads, trends, and the whimsical ideals of people just as uneducated, ignorant, and afraid as we are.  To stand FOR something is to stand AGAINST something.  Many have lived and died having never come to this realization.  What is it that you stand for?  What do you love that loves you in return?  Life or death?  Living in fucked up environments of racism destroying everything against the heart.

That is what L.O.D. represents.  The struggle.  The fight.  The stand against systems of ignorance, for the advancement of that which we hold dear to our hearts.  How long will you be a faker in your own skin?  Afraid to BE cause they say you can’t BE.  Afraid to do cause they say you can’t do.

A L.O.D. soldier is unafraid of the fears that ignorance provides.  A L.O.D. soldier’s greatest weapon is education.  “Know how.”  Plain and simple.  Once you know better you should show better.  If we knew better we’d do better.  In this technological age and time where the answers are provided at a button’s touch who can keep you from knowing something?  As an L.O.D. soldier you have accepted the responsibility for not only your own personal advancement, but also for that of your brothers and sisters in the struggle because the best way to get ahead in life is to help someone do the same.  The only way to break the cycle of this crabs in a bucket syndrome we’re stuck knee deep in is to stop being the crab.  Period.  L.O.D. is not a gang and will not adopt the so called principles of such.  What it is, however, is an alliance of like-minded individuals who’ve recognized the perilous situation we’ve had thrust upon us and hunger to be active in making a difference.  L.O.D. recognizes that the Enemy (this governmental machine) does not discriminate and neither shall we.  Any race, creed, color, or sexual orientation will and shall be accepted with open arms.  L.O.D. is a movement that begs the question: is this life or is this Death?  Where a person is born into a design of debt, poverty, incarceration, and death by age 30.

In today’s America there are two species of human being: non-felons and felons.  Felons, have become the new slave, alien, outcast, reject, undesirable, etc.  The promotion of ignorance in today’s society is at an all time high and it is this very ignorance that justifies the oppressive abuses we suffer at the hands of the law.

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as punishment for a crime.  Look it up.  We claim to be adults, but we’re afraid to speak up and speak out against the ignorance in our own neighborhoods that steals our children from us.  That same ignorance that claims our children is the very same ignorance that fuels the fears and frustrations of these quick trigger cops who kill seemingly in cold blood.

Living
In
Fucked up
Environments

Of
Racism

Destroying
Everything
Against
The
Heart

I salute the men and women of I.O.A. and thank you from the core of my heart for your courage and dedication to a selfless cause.  I’d been meaning to raech out to you guys for some time now.

As for your concerns about the complaints with this jail???…

My only complaint would be the lack of educational opportunities for the long term detainees.  I’ve made several requests myself to have some character education/ethics and choices work books sent in so that I can start a class but…instead, as you can see on the back side of page one, I’ve started a creative writing class and had a helluva turnout!  Months back I’d started a mens group in 4-D but I failed the young bros up there by letting my anger and frustration get the best of me.  In life – especially behind bars – people will treat you the way you present yourself.  I cannot echo the complaints you hear in every letter because hey…this is jail.  This building has saved many people from themselves, so as novel the thought of total abolishment of jail is, it would truly do more harm than good.  In a perfect world these prisons and jails wouldn’t be necessary.  Having spent 21 1/2 years day for day with no breaks in between in prison, I can honestly say it (prison) is needed.  I have met many a man who have lost all desire to change…if they ever possessed it to begin with.  Sad, but too true.  My Lord and Savior had different plans for me and so he filled me with the will to endure and to never give up.  He filled me with compassion and the desire to help mend this broken picture of society.  To let my own life and experiences be an example to our youth of not only what not do, but also of how to turn your life around for the better.

Man, I love it.  Inspiring substantial thought in people.

You have my permission to print this letter in its entirety and to use my full name.  I stand on every word I’ve written and fear no reprisal from staff.  I can honestly say that the vast majority of the staff I’ve encountered here are genuinely good people just doing their jobs to pay the bills.

In closing I’d like to ask you guys at IOA to see about sending me some materials (workbooks, etc.) to aid me in my task of creating a change.  Like I said earlier, ethics and choices, character education, anger management, stress management…anything that will bring something new and worthwhile to the boxes that these brothers and sister are unable to think outside of.  Help me help our society.

I am L.O.D.

Sincerely fearless and able,

Curtis Barnette

God bless y’all and I love you all.

“Its a vicious cycle where their goal is for you to lose everything you have”

G___,

I received two letters from you on March 31st, one was dated February 11th and the second March 27th. So I think there may be some lag time with the mail. You asked if I had received the Human Relations Commission’s Report and I have not! The only thing I received in the mail are two written letters and both March and April “Feedback” booklets. There is no report anywhere to be found if it was sent. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it conveniently was lost by the mail inspection here.

As for your inquiry about any knowledge in regards to Uniece Fennell. There is none in 3D, no one knows a thing here and the officers are tight lipped as if it never happened. When I called home the day after the incident my family was asking about the death – And I had no clue about it at all. When I asked the officer in the pod about it he would not comment and wouldn’t even confirm that anything happened. I watched the local news that evening, there was no story about it there either and nobody gets the newspaper. The women’s pod is on the 5th floor, we are in the dark down here on the 3rd floor. Sorry I couldn’t be of any help this time.

Video visitation seems to be a hot topic lately. I heard that the jail was going to transition to it like Wake County but I didn’t realize it was happening NOW! A couple days in the past few weeks we have been prevented from coming out of our cells in the morning because they had someone working in the visitation room: They’ve already started installing metal mounts to house the video screen. It looks like they are progressing forward despite all the protests inside and out. The feedback booklet hits on a few critical points such as profiting GTL as well as the jail’s profit and how video visitation will dehumanize personal interactions. I want to point out how the District Attorney’s office will directly “profit” from it, too. Just like our phone calls I would think the video visits will be recorded. The district Attorney’s office has access to your phone calls and will now be able to pry into your visits. There is no privacy whatsoever. They read our mail, they record our phone calls, and now they will be keeping tabs on our visits. What would it be like if we had that privilege to listen to the prosecutors and DAs discussions and every phone call that they make. Invade their private interactions. Now that would be something. My point is that the deck is already stacked against you and anytime I speak my mind I have to worry whether or not what I say could be falsely used against me or perceived some other way. It’s ridiculous!

On to other topics! The food and ABL. It has been a roller coaster with them and there is no consistency. When they began in October, there was promise, but now I can see that was just a front. The first 3 weeks were good! A variety of fresh fruit including Bananas, green vegetables, including chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, good portion sizes, and no soy. Currently, the fruit we get is not ripe, heavily bruised, and tastes awful, easily finding its way into the trash container. We have not seen a banana since the first couple of weeks. We hardly get greens, nothing like we got the first few weeks even if we do. Lately the food has been so salty you can’t even eat it. The pancakes yesterday were hard as a rock. At this point I don’t know which company was worse, ARAMARK or ABL. There is absolutely no variety ether. You get the same meals every week multiple times a week. It’s getting old very quick. Honestly, at this point I hope the jail does not review ABL’s contract. What reviews I saw and the article about ABL in the newspaper raving about their good quality and healthier menu is a lie. My vote would be to kick them out too. Their quality and service has been declining since day 1.

I wrote last time about the DA’s office and the prosecutor threatening to obtain another search warrant after a judge has already noted significant misconduct by officers. Well they mangaged to get one, how, I have no clue. The only way is by lying and bad faith, which the DA’s office is notorious for so I’m not surprised. I just read an article in the newspaper on 3/31/17 quoting a supreme court judge. In summary it mentioned that the average person does not think the justice system within North Carolina is fair and a large percentage think the process is too slow. My follow up question to that would be to isolate Durham and see how it compares. My guess would be that Durham would be far worse. I sit here day after day watching how the system in Durham works and it is concerning. Most of the prosecutors are no better than Mike Nifong and Tracy Cline, maybe even worse. I swear they teach a class to these prosecutors on the best way to hide the truth, withhold evidence, and when all else fails keep them in jail and delay, delay, delay. Its a vicious cycle where their goal is for you to lose everything you have; whether its your job, house, car, marriage, etc. And once they’ve exhausted and beat you down by holding you in jail they wait until you give up. It’s just crazy to me and something needs to be done.

Oh, I want to give my thoughts on this jail with regards to Uniece Fennell. I don’t know what happened, but if it was suicide I don’t think that means the jail can wash their hands from liability. My understanding is that this jail was supposed to get more funding for mental health. Officers were supposed to get training on how to better handle mental health issues. If Uniece was troubled enough to harm herself, there were obvious signs that should have been caught. These officers don’t care about anyone in this jail and they are certainly not observant enough. Next, how does the jail provide the means for someone to commit suicide. This should not have happened and should not have even been possible. I’ve lived in these cells for 17 months, if she was able to be successful in her attempt – something was not right and something needs to change. You stress the hell out of people and then place them in a harsh environment. We already know that mental disorders are widely prevalent within the jail. It’s a shame that yet another person dies in this jail.

Alright! Thanks for the letters and Feedback! Looking forward to hear from you soon and any new updates!

– E.X.

‘You’ve still got power’

At a recent visitation time, we met D, whose partner is locked up in the jail. She was going to visit him in person and face to face. D reminded us of a very simple but very profound truth that is at the heart and the beginnings of this group: “Whether you’re locked up or not, you’ve still got power. They’re trying to take it from you, but you’ve still got power.”

 

‘I HATE DCDF and everything it stands for’

10/13/16

What’s up?

I’m ok. I could be better but I’m hanging in there. Thanks for writing back…You’re right about the mail, my wife sent me mail on the 6th of October and I received it on the 11th, how crazy is that? I’m also very ecstatic about the change in the food, it’s way more appetizing than Aramark. But anyway, they do all they can to try to make us seem irrelevant, but they can’t stop the mail services. So, with that being said I would like to see them try to stop us from writing you guys. Continue reading

‘That fist bump keeps me going til the next time’

fencing at DCDF (1)

This photo was taken near the end of June. The fencing is still up.

In front of the jail last week, topics of conversation ranged from the construction all around us (that has been underway since late June with little to show for it), to the jail’s plans for video visitation, to the new contract for food preparation, and much more. The following are snippets of conversation:

M: You look around, and it just seems like things are going to get worse here. This construction, for one. They used to have trees here and benches. Then they took down the trees, and they took out the benches.

Y: Yeah, when we started protesting.

M: But what are they putting in here? It’s not gonna be better. You can only assume it will be worse based on what goes on here. They also seem to be doing some kind of construction on the roof. I saw porta potties up there, and stuff hanging off the edge. What’s going on up there?

S: I don’t know.

M: This whole place is a mess.

S: And then there’s fewer benches to sit on in the lobby, and the recently removed curtain where the locker area was. That’s gonna be for video visitation, right?

M: There’s fewer benches because there will be less waiting for visits maybe? We don’t know because they never say. For video visits, forget it. If it comes to that, I won’t go. I’d rather talk to my dad on the phone. It’s bullshit that they’re doing that. I would rather talk to him on the phone than through a video screen.

_______________________________________________

C: Visits on a video monitor is gonna be worst on children of inmates. And on the inmates themselves. Why would they take away face to face when there’s no reason to? That’s gonna kill people. It’ll make people so much worse off than now even.

T: They’re not doing that, or, if they try it’s not gonna fly. No way. It might be with glass between you, but you’re really seeing them. And the fist bump. I live for a fist bump at that end. You can’t do that on video. If I don’t have that fist bump…It keeps me going til the next time.

S: What do you think they’re doing here (construction)? Do you know?

G: I don’t know. They don’t say. Maybe someone is digging a tunnel out of the place? (Smiles).

S: I like the way you think. (Smile)

_______________________________________________

N: We were told they put up this (construction fence) to stop us and others from talking to the inmates at the windows.

S: Really? Someone from the jail told you that?

J: No, other people said it, not anyone who works here, I don’t think.

S: So, I see it hasn’t really stopped you from communicating. Or anyone else.

J: (Laughs). No, not really.

S: Does anyone from the jail ever try to tell you to stop signaling?

N: Hell no. They know it ain’t gon’ stop me.

 

 

“soy county jail”

Hello Inside Out!  I think that you all have made a big difference in the way the jail is being run.  They are definitely checking behind themselves and doing some things out of the ordinary.  I am hoping to get your help with a menu change here.  I hate to say it but I think that sandwiches every night may be better than what we are getting now!

I want to call this the Soy County Jail!  How can we work together to get something done?  I know that everyone in my pod doesn’t want it!  We all pretty much refer to it as cat food!  How can everyone’s voice be heard?

This company ARAMARK is supposed to be hired out for the contract of our food and the canteen.  They sell little bags of stuff and charge a lot for it.  If we could buy stuff in big bags and get more for what we pay for it would be better.  I think someone needs to look at the money ARAMARK is making and do something about it.  They are getting filthy rich!  Stinkin rich!

I would bet that there would be 100 companies that would love to have the contract for the work at the Durham Co. Jail!  The opportunity to make such great money.  To have a secure job, you can work 7 days a week.

Let’s see if we can get Mr. Aramark fired.  If we could, I think he would be the saddest person in town.  To lose his gold mine.  What?

If Inside Out could please help this is #1 grievance here!

Thanks for your help and all that you do.  Here is what they have mustarded up for us with the SOY!

These here we can actually eat, most of us:
– Soy chili beans
– Soy spaghetti
– Soy taco meat
– Soy gravy
– Soy manwich

3 different kinds of soy rice –> garbage

Soy potatoes
Soy in bag noodles
Soy in macaroni and cheese

There may be something I have left out.  But you get the picture.  We are getting this too much.  I am getting sick of it.  The first 5 types of the soy can be eaten if we had too that much.  But the other 6 kinds of soy food isn’t edible.  Guess what they give us the worst 6 kinds of soy more than the better kind.  It is like they are punishing us for not wanting sandwiches every night.

Soy must be the cheapest food that they can buy.  I know that if we could get them fired, there would be plenty of companies that would love to make the good money at the Durham Co Jail.  Please help us if you can.  This should be a crime against nature.

Thanks Again,

 

K.K.

PS: I forgot to mention the percentage of soy we are getting in our meals.  This is the percentage of lunch and supper.  Lunch and supper percentage is 60 to 70% soy meals.  If I put breakfast in it it messes the high percentage up.  We do get soy gravy about twice a week.  That is supposed to take place of eggs.  Even no powdered eggs.  Hek powdered eggs seem to be scumsious right now!  Help us get some food in here!  Thanks.  Bye bye soy!

“we need more time out of the cells”

I am __________, I got your letter the other day and was glad.  I know that there are many things that are happening in this jail that you all know about and outside people but it seems that no one is doing anything about it.  This is a horrible place.  The food is better but it is still lacking in so many ways.

I think that we need more time out of the cells.  They have you locked back too much.

I think the guards need more training and people skills, because many do not interact with people well, they lack the skills to speak in the right tone or even what to say in some cases.

I think they hold people in jail too long.

Can we do something on the outside, teaching people about the jail and the way it is run to keep them out?  I believe that may help some people.  Not all but some.

The jail program needs to be reworked from the top to the bottom, because it is not working.  It is no longer about right and wrong it is money, who cares about the lives the courts hurt.

If there was more openness, you would not have all this trying to find out what being said in the Feedback.

Thanks for hearing me out and look forward to hearing from you again.

 

Sincerely,

L.V.