‘They waste money by throwing people away like broken toys’

Hi (IOA),

They took —- to prison on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving..which made Thanksgiving Day for me very hard. I cried for two days.

People just have no idea how hard jail and prison is for the family also. My heart is broken over our mean and cruel system where instead of helping all these people with counseling and teaching them trades for good jobs… Continue reading

‘What good is this place doing for anyone?’

Paul, outside of DCDF, after visitation:

I don’t like coming down here. If it was something he (my son) had done I would accept it, but still wouldn’t like it. But I’m old, and it takes a lot out of me to come down here twice a week. It isn’t fun coming down here. Some people are in here, and they’re laughing about stuff. It ain’t funny. This ain’t a happy or funny place to be. I’ve worked hard my whole life, and you know what? Life is serious. I’ve worked hard and been told ‘why you sitting down?’ Cause I’m tired, that’s why. But they say ‘get up, get to work.’ Life is serious and this place should make you see that.  Continue reading

Windows to the World

during a friday protest

during a friday protest

the following was written by someone outside the jail.

by J.S.

On any given day, at almost any given time, you might see someone outside of the Durham County jail waving, signaling or otherwise communicating with a person inside the jail. If they happen to be lucky enough to be on their ‘walk,’ the person might be in the large full window at the end of their pod. For the rest of the 20 hours of the day, the person is confined to their room, and the window of communication is a thin, rectangular one that is at the high up in the room. Communication by the people outside is full of love, sadness, information, sometimes anger or regret, but it is almost always spirited and emotional.

And to think, if it were entirely up to the sheriff’s department, the county, and others, this communication wouldn’t happen at all. Yes, deputies do occasionally try to tell people they cannot wave or signal to people inside the jail. But if they tried to entirely stop it, they would spend their time doing nothing else. Continue reading

Things are starting to change–slowly, but surely

How are you doing? Me, still in Durham County Jail, enduring the struggle.

First off, my name is H. V. This is my first time writing you. I am writing you saying thanks for all of the positive things that you have been doing for us in Durham County Jail.

Also to let you all know that because of you all, things are starting to change around here for the better, slowly—but surely. And we are very grateful for that. Even if some of us don’t have the decency to tell you all. Let me be the first to say this on the behalf of everybody here at Durham County Jail…THANK YOU ALL!!!!

Last but not least, my original reason for sitting down and writng you this letter (besides what has been stated above)….is because you, out the kindness of your heart, sent my roommate (D.Q.) some reading material and stamps, and he didn’t have the decency to write you back and say thank you. So on his behalf…Thank You. Your kind act(s) were greatly appreciated.

Well I’m about to end this letter. Thank you once again.


Prisoner’s Mother denied visitation because shirt is “too revealing”

I came up here at 5 o’clock. I’ve been coming since March when my son got in here and I’ve never been told any rules about what you can wear and what you can’t. They waited until 6 when it was visiting time. The officer who signed me in should’ve told me, but he just let me through. So, it was six o’clock and they called my son’s name, and I go up to where they let you in and the woman up there told me I couldn’t go in, that my shirt is too revealing. It’s 99 degrees! It’s the hottest week of the summer. I’m wearing a tank top, but I didn’t think my shirt was too revealing or anything.

I think it’s a big bunch of B.S.!!

Linda, Durham prisoner’s mother

Vague rules, arbitrarily enforced, make for unhappy parents, loved ones and friends. Another parent recently told us she was denied visitation because she left the waiting area to check to see if she got a parking ticket. No one ever told her she couldn’t leave. If time is money, as they preach in the business world, prisoner’s families have as much time-money stolen from them as anyone in ‘free society.’

Children are the real victims. I was planning my death at Durham County Jail.

[The writer of this letter wishes to remain anonymous.]

I was recently locked up for a crime I may have committed during a PTSD flashback. I had a seizure in my room. I pressed the emergency call button several times and the officer didn’t care to check on me. I was vomiting on myself and everything. Finally, they popped my door, and instead of the officer coming to me, they responded in a harsh voice ” come down and see me.” I had a seizure and they wanted me to walk down stairs??!!

They have NOTHING to help the young and older children of incarcerated parents. Continue reading

Grandmother of inmate: It is so frustrating!

Carmen, an inmate’s grandmother, recently spoke about the hardships of having someone inside who you care about.

“Putting money on commissary is so hard for me. I don’t have much money because I’m not able to work, but he needs more food, because the food is so bad. I need to put money on for him to buy more. Continue reading