‘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.

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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)

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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.

 

 

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“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.

‘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.

H.V.