‘That’s how it is. What are you gonna do about it?’

We recently spoke with M—and Y—about GlobalTel (GTL), the phone service contracted by the jail, along with all the ways families are exploited by the ravenous companies who set up shop at the jail. We also talked about the tremendous creativity of their dad and all the detainees.

M: I work cleaning carpets and get paid every two weeks. And as soon as I get the money it comes here (DCDF). Pretty much all my money from my job goes to this place. Like take GTL. It is way too expensive for the service they give. So every two weeks I put $50 on, because it’s down to nothing in that time. And that’s just for phone calls for me, cause I get the best rate of everyone in my family. Continue reading

‘It’s like telling these doors to open themselves and let us go’

(Note: the date on the following letter is correct—the envelope had multiple post marks, and seemed to have been opened before going out—editors)

Feb 3, 2016


I’m doing ok, just another day in jail. Thanks for writing. I don’t really know too much about the death of Matthew McCain, but I know the guard that was working that pod (Erick Boria) the day it happened is very lazy—all he does is sit at the desk either reading a book or looking at TV. He doesn’t do his rounds every 15 minutes like a lot of other guards here. Continue reading

‘Who invents this idiocy?’

the following is from a prisoner who was transferred from Durham to a state facility.

Feb 4 2016


I got your letter and the books from the Internationalist. I am doing okay. I hate the monotony and lack of color here or any prison setting. Everything about it is built to dull men and ruin them. I feel sad a lot partly because a lot of men here in prison don’t understand the debilitating torture of all things prison (food, clothes, concrete, smart-ass guards). Continue reading

‘Don’t believe everything the pigs say’


First off, let me say thanks for saying Happy B-day. I really appreciate it. But nah, we been coming out 9-12:45/4-6:45, nah don’t believe everything the pigs say cause most of it BS. I’ve been here 5 and a half months and I’m not hearing nothing from my lawyer and I haven’t been to court in 3 months. I’m hoping and praying for probation, but it’s gonna be a lot, but it’s better than this shitty place. I should be getting out soon, though. I don’t have bread/money on my account to get stamps, but I’ll send it soon as I can.

Same struggle! TEB, aka Speedy

‘They don’t care about us’

From a friend to a friend


Thanks for the letters. I’ve been doing this time alone so your letters are really, really appreciated. Your time and effort you give up to reach out to me for support and help mean a lot. It’s crazy, cause you sent your last letter May 31st. I just got it like a week and a half ago. Crazy, rite? Anyways, I’ve read the feedback paper you sent and shared it with a couple people. We all are grateful for the things you and the organization does for us. We have four straight hours out a day now, so that’s better than before and you all got something to do with that. I’m in — now. I’ve been here for like two months. Far as visits I really don’t have any and haven’t had none in about 6 months, so if you wanted to come visit I would appreciate it.  Continue reading

Independent Investigation Needed: You have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide’

the following letter was dated June 22, but was received more than a month later. We don’t blame the USPS.

June 22, 2015


I hope this letter finds you and everyone at Inside-Outside Alliance in good health and excellent spirits. I myself am doing great and very happy to know that we have such caring and supportive people at Inside-Outside. I am very grateful to each and everyone of you for everything you are doing for us here at the Durham County Detention Center. Things have changed considerably for us, we are now coming out of lockback 4 hours daily, and as of next month (July), the jail will be working with a new telephone company, something we all hope will be for the better. Continue reading

‘I been treated like a slave’


How are you? I’m doing good. I support Inside-Outside Alliance due to the struggle we through behind the revolving doors of incarceration. I have been here 10 months and my lawyer is not trying to do anything with my case. Continue reading