‘A lot of contradictions–shows us really what justice is’

July 26, 2014

Dear —-,

How are you doing my brother? Still standing strong (in here), maybe not quite as numbered though. I asked a gentleman today if he wanted to join an I.O.A. meeting. When he told me no I asked him why and he said because the C.O.s don’t give a shit. Yet I can’t help but feel my lack of experience as a speaker holds some responsibility.

EPSON MFP image

this comic accompanied the letter

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‘When you stand for nothing you’ll settle for anything’

First I wanna start by saying I’m sorry I haven’t been responding to letters, they’re greatly appreciated and probably the most supportive feedback I’ve got since I’ve been locked up, and I just got to say thanks, it means a lot being in my situation. Now, regarding your letter, I bet my good friend S. V. told you I was a cornerstone or key part to the inside resistance. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that. I’m a bouncer for bars and night clubs out there in the world. I’ve been doing that since I was about 15 years old, so I’ve got a chance to meet and get to know a lot of people. Maybe that’s why S– feel I’m important to the struggle. Hey, maybe I am and just don’t realize it. Continue reading

‘Maybe the Fourth of July will mean much more than cookouts and fireworks…’

From B.T. 6-30-14
flagupside

Hello,
Are you doing great, I hope. I am OK, thank you for the pictures. They do not have a plan for when my blood sugar goes real high. I am supposed to go to the E.R., but they just help me in my cell because I am an inmate. And one time they did not give me insulin and all because the nurses that was working did not like me. I told my lawyer but nothing happened yet. I go to court on the –th of this month so I hope to be a free man then. I will keep you posted. The food is nasty, mostly starchy, mostly carbs and that’s not good for diabetics, they treat us like cattle in here. But I hope life is treating you very well, and I know there is a lot that can go wrong with me if my blood sugar stays too high too much, but they don’t care because it’s not their health. And that is sad, people should care about one another, but because we’re locked up or made mistakes in life they treat us like scum, talk to us any kind of way, but if you say something back they lock you in your cell. It’s just wrong. I’m trying to organize the people in my pod, but not a lot of them don’t want to put forth any effort, but complain about the things that go on. Well I care for them, so I will not give up no matter what and I think some of the people are scared to speak up for themselves and their rights, but I will keep pressing the issue. Thank you for being our voice on the outside and fighting with us side by side for our rights, it means a lot. Hope you like the pictures, I will have more ready when I get your next letter I hope. It’s my pleasure to draw them for you and the organization, it’s the least I can do and thank you for sending them. Please send some more pictures of vargeta from dragonballz and picaro and Bugs Bunny…Huey and Riley from the Boondocks. EPSON MFP image
And what the fourth of July means to me is freedom, we declared our independence from England or Spain I’m not too sure but we are locked up we have no freedom or independence in here, and to the slaves it was an insult because they were slaves and not free. They were under oppressors just like we are. And it also means to be with your family, friends and loved ones cooking out on the grill, laughing, playing, having fun with my children and loved ones to be able to eat when I want, take a shower when I want, to go outside and get fresh air when you want, to not be told what to do all the time or to be locked back in a small cell like a wild animal in a giant cage. Freedom is not free, for us everything in this world cost to have. They say this is a fair and free nation, but I have yet to see those words true. Somethings are ok, but there is a lot things wrong with the constitution and this nation, so we as a people should come together, talk about all the things that are wrong and fix them the very best that we can. I’m not saying that things are going to be perfect, but they can get a whole lot better. We just need to stand together as one and let nothing stop us or stand in our way. We are all human. Nobody is better than the rest. A lot of us just have some growing up to do then maybe the Fourth of July will mean much more than cookouts and fireworks because we will really be free and independent, that’s what the Fourth of July means to me. Well I’ll wait for your feedback friends. Thank you very much, God Bless You.
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Lockback for checking out law book

June 18, 2014

Got your letters today, along with the petitions I wrote…I appreciate the memo you gave on my first letter. I liked your nickname, Call to Arms, haha. Perhaps if you sent a copy of it in each letter you all send out people may want to take action. A few people talked to me today, they want to write you all letters which I’ll include. I liked the (earlier pencil ban) petition. It sounds more professional. Either way I want to get a around 30 people from each pod to send it out at once. Maybe once Major Couch gets frustrated of having a cluttered mailbox he will take action… Continue reading

‘We are creators of our own history’

May 14

Dear —-,

Your letters were very inspiring and well worded. I see completely eye to eye with you that we are creators of our own history. I’ve been talking to MANY inmates lately about IOA. One of my statements I almost always tell them is that “Whatever we change in here is going to be changed forever, for every single inmate.” That would make the struggle for every other inmate that comes here after them a little less harder. Continue reading

‘WHATEVER WE DON’T FIGHT FOR THEY WILL TAKE FROM US’

April 1, 2014

Dear IOA,

What’s up? Thanks for the letter it does me good to get one, I already get so few, so it’s appreciated to get one; especially someone who is for me. Each letter is an inspiration to strive further knowing progress is being made. I read a story just recently on a war hero named Jeremiah Denton who recently passed away. He was a P.O.W. and during his whole time he NEVER gave in. He was beaten, tortured, starved, etc. Us INMATES need that attitude. The thing is we are going to be treated like shit either way so why not give them a reason? Continue reading

Survey: ‘We are handled like products on a shelf’

How long have you been inside? I’ve been inside now 5 months. 

How many court appearances have you had? 3 (not counting 1st appearances) on 2 separate cases. 

How many times have you talked to your lawyer? Saw 1 lawyer 1 time and the other lawyer 1 time.

What is the situation regarding your charge? (Awaiting sentencing, awaiting trial, awaiting appearance, etc.?) Currently I’m doing 150 days for probation violation and waiting for an appearance on new charges. 

Have you been ever been ‘disciplined’ in your time at DCDC, either individually or as part of a group? Tell about it. No I have never been disciplined for any reason. 

What in your opinion are the biggest problems with the DCDC? What’s right with DCDC, anything?

If you could express one largest grievance, what would it be? We are handled like products on a shelf. The more money the county can make off of us being incarcerated the better, is how it seems. The DA’s don’t care if we get to come to court. Our lawyers (court appointed) don’t seem to care if we come to court. We’re treated worse than the animals at the shelter/pound. And no one shows us any respect for the most part. Now in 5B, STARR/GRAD pod, we had some c.o.’s show us respect, but not on any other pod. We’ve only been charged, most of us are not sentenced yet, if at all, but yet we’re all treated like rapists & kilers & child molesters by most of the staff. Very judgmental people. 

Does anyone visit you at DCDC? What are their biggest problems with the DCDC? No visitors for me. No calls. 

We have heard many complaints about medical services at the jail. What is your opinion of health services? Medical services do OK sometimes. If they ever get around to you. Also, there never seems to be a doctor here anymore, just physician assistants.

We have heard numerous complaints about food. What is your opinion about the nutritional value and taste of the food? It could and should be a lot better. Aramark has taken complete advantage of the situation of what we get on trays. They just want to make money. 

What is your opinion of library / educational services to prisoners at the jail? Not good. We are lucky to go to the library at all and on weeks we don’t go we don’t even have books delivered to the pods. 

What do you think of the c.o.’s? I don’t have problems but I’ve seen others have major problems with c.o.’s over nothing. Some c.o.’s power trip/ ego trip. 

How do you get along with other prisoners? I get along fine with everyone.

How do jail staff affect your ability to get along with fellow prisoners? They don’t affect me getting along with anyone. 

What, if any, are some of the good experiences you have had at DCDC? I found my higher power/God and the STARR/GRAD program has started me off on the road to recovery from years of drug and alcohol addiction. 

Have you ever made a complaint or filed a grievance with jail authorities? If so, what happened? No.

Have you ever started a petition or signed a petition regarding things happening at DCDC? Just this questionnaire. 

Some DCDC prisoners have suggested the idea of a prisoners council that would participate in making decisions about things at the jail. What do you think of such an idea? It would be an idea. 

How could it work? What would it look like? Let a council of inmates work out procedures with upper management staff. It would take some time I’m sure but a good idea. 

What circumstances on the outside led to you being locked up? How common do you think those kind of circumstances are? DV. I’m sure it’s very common. Just like cheating wives. 

What have you noticed about being inside (who is here? Why are they here?) Young black males. Drugs or violent crimes (robbery, AWDW, etc.)

In your opinion is there a relationship between race and incarceration? What is it? Yes. I would say race. But I’m white so notice that there are lot more blacks in here. 70% black, 20% Latino, 10% white is what it seems like to me. 

What does social class or economics have to do with getting locked up? Profiling has always been a problem.

What do you think is the point of jail? Prison? The justice system? What do you think people on the outside think about people who are locked up? Incarceration, to keep us off the streets, and make money off of us from the state. People outside are very judgmental.

What do you think are the possibilities for living in a different kind of world, and how do we get there? Love your neighbor. Just do the right thing and help out anyone when in your ability to do it.

‘Until the government begins to take lumps and bruises…’

The following comes to us from a comrade in a state prison.

2-9-14

Dear —-,

How is everything going for you out there? I have been seeing on the news about how the city of Durham is restricting the people’s right to peacefully assemble. My teachings instruct me to love rather than hate; my struggle comes in the form of loving those I clearly know hate me for superficial reasons. This is a continuous display of racism by the European, and when we get fed up with being treated like 2nd class citizens, we are classified as “terrorists,” “anarchists,” or “thugs.” Continue reading

Durham Court System Hates its Citizens!

The writer talks about the city he loves, paranoid guards, and, the possibility of inmate democracy.

Hey AVI,

How’s things going? Hopefully well. I’ve been alright for the most part but I’ve been really annoyed by the guards’ sergeant harassing us! Again! Remember I told you bout the Sgt. tripping over us exercising intensely? Continue reading