‘This is our life inside’

the following letter was received more than five weeks after it was written. 

Oct 22 2016

Hello!

My name is J. B. I’m an inmate in Durham County jail scheduled to return to — County…I am in fear of serving the rest of my time in Durham due to an outbreak of scabies that the jail and medical staff have tried to cover up. I was exposed to this disease because the medical staff put the inmate who was infected in our block. I actually shook hands with him, he used the phones and showers. Two days later they removed him and the sergeant along with a nurse came in with biohazard bags and removed his personal items. Continue reading

‘I’m not a half person’

10-3-16

Dear —

Thanks for writing to me. It took me a long time to write you back cause of my mental health and medical problems. Right now, as I write to you, it is very much a hard struggle. I don’t want my name in the feedback, only my initial L.

These are the things I want talked about. One, I’m not a half person. I’m like the singer Usher. If I’m gonna tell it, then I’m gonna tell it all!

1.) Bed bugs, or some kind of bugs I’m not sure. Now I don’t know what this meant, but before they did it I kept complaining. These bugs were eating away at us. But n-e-ways, over the weekend in the women’s pod of 5D (maybe the whole jail), Mr. Ham and his supervisor gave “everybody” brand new washcloths, towels, 1 sheet, blanket and laundry bag! Continue reading

‘I am going to defend us because I need to…’

“This is a bunch of overblown distorted lies that are not an accurate reflection of the jail and I’m not going to sit here and let people get away with it…Just because someone wrote something in a letter doesn’t mean it’s true…These letters haven’t even been authenticated.” –Major Paul Martin, Durham County Sheriff’s Office, at forum hosted by the city’s Human Relations Commission
on the Impact of the Durham County Jail on Durham City Residents, 9.15.16.

Martin was talking about the letters received by the Human Relations Commission, as well as the more than 600 letters (and other words and images) published on this website (which is just a portion of letters we receive).

Mr. Martin’s words should not be dignified with a response, so we’ll keep it brief:

We (continue to) Believe Prisoners, Detainees, Inmates, Convicts, Human Beings Behind Bars, or whatever people want to call themselves.

We believe prisoners.

We believe prisoners.

We believe prisoners.

 

 

‘I can’t believe the health department hasn’t looked at these trays…’

8-13-16

Hey —

I do hope you are as well as can be! It was good to hear from you. I’m hangin in here and quickly approaching the 1000th day of incarceration in DCJ. It sucks the big one in here, but that’s how it goes for a person that has an extremely high bond and that’s fighting for their freedom. Don’t take a plea for something you didn’t do and sit and rot in jail. They will get their time out of you one way or another. I’m with the others on the hating the food situation. This soy they got coming to us is not enough to make you not even eat your tray. Recently, I’ve been noticing that the trays haven’t been washed thoroughly. So they bring us this slop to eat and you will see remnants of grits from breakfast and brownies from lunch that they didn’t clean good enough. Also, another issue is the trays themselves. Since I have been here (going on 31 months) and actually in 2008 I was here and saw the same type of trays. They haven’t replaced them. The lids in particular are hollow and many of them get full of water and dish soap. So you might get a tray and the lid weighs 5-10 pounds. Then you might get another that’s not full of water. This water drains out on your food. I have held one up and let water and old soap drain out on the floor. Most times if you inspect the food there are little bubbles with soap residue where something hasn’t been washed or that these old plastic trays/lids have leaked stagnant/soapy water out in our food. I can’t believe the health department hasn’t looked at these trays after and in between meals. It’s fucking disgusting to say the least. I mean a dude might blow his nose and put the tissue on these trays and it goes back down to the kitchen to be washed and they half-ass spray it down. We need new trays in the kitchen that our food comes to us on. And we need new dishwashers. These guys are fellows that probably never had a job on the street and couldn’t keep one if they did. They don’t give a damn about their fellow inmates, or their own cleanliness. I bet these guys have homes that are disgusting and have cockroaches running around, pizza boxes stacked up in the corner and endless lines of piss ants marching around everywhere. Savages. I wouldn’t mind throwing them in the sink and scalding them with their sprayer that is plenty powerful enough to clean our trays we eat on and that can easily remove old food. Bastards smh. Ask around on the tray situation. Oh, one more thing. There hasn’t been a toilet brush in this block 5-C in over a year and a half. I got some funk in my toilet that looks like it’s gonna grown arms and climb out of the bowl. I have had to clean it with my hands and a rag. Looks like I’ll have to continue. Drains still clogged in 5-C and overflowing their filth for us to inhale. Sewer gas is supposed to be vented by code (by law), yet it vents in our block and we inhale these toxic vapors. I may as well tell you about the carpet that was removed in 5-C. It was peeled up months ago, but the adhesive remains. People scuff their feet on it and chairs slide on it. Then janitors sweep over top of it. So with that being said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the particles that are scuffed up (being tiny pieces of adhesive) are becoming airborne. Do they give us dust masks? No. Is that adhesive safe to breathe? One could tell that it’s airborne because when we sweep anywhere in this block, including our rooms, there’s tiny pieces of this yellow adhesive. It wouldn’t take but some remover, scrapers ,and a few swingin dicks to scrape and the jail would have successfully completed a task of removing what they started removing. I’ll stop now. Hopefully these concerns can help clean this place up, if you care to voice them. I have spread the word of your mission and will continue to do so…Thanks.

B.

‘…more like Durham County Jungle…’

Peace and Love IOA!!!

I hope all is well with you all…peace and love to all the comrades as well!!! Durham County Jail, laugh my butt off more like, Durham County Jungle! You really want to know how is the food in here…Well, let me start by saying it’s some shit. Picture, left over gravy rice, mixed with broccoli, and baby apple sauce on the side. Potatoes that aren’t cooked. Fried chicken patties that are not fried. Fake ass hamburgers. Hot dogs, well hot dogs are so bad I can’t explain them. HOT DOGS SHOULDN’T BE THREE DIFFERENT COLORS! Continue reading

‘Officers taunted me to kill myself’

May 4th 2016

IOA

Sorry it has taken a while to respond to your letters. I’ve been going through some personal issues lately, but to answer your question about us getting three hot meals instead of sandwiches, I’m honestly kind of glad. I was starting to get fed up with those dry-ass sandwiches every night, but as my fellow inmates said, they don’t give us a good enough portion to fill us up… Continue reading