‘This is state-sponsored or funded madmen’

The following letter is from a state inmate who was serving time in Durham jail until he suffered a major hip injury in an altercation with other inmates.

Hey —,

Got your letter, thanks. I also got a letter from — that’s part of IOA. He liked something I said. It made me happy. It is a true blessing to have found like-minded folks out there. It was strange for years, I was like, “Are y’all reading this shit?” All my friends like to drink. It has destroyed my life. They maintain. They agree, but it is hard when you are fear stricken. Where I lived with my buddy for years in Durham on Vickers Ave, walking distance to the jail in 10 min. Anyway, we got tickets for having a beer on the sidewalk while we were working on a broken truck. Continue reading

‘It is not enough. We need and want a complete end to the lockback.’


How’s it going? I hope that as this letter reaches you, that it finds you and everyone else within the IOA community in the best of health, both physically and mentally.

First of all I can’t thank the men and women of the IOA enough, for their persistent protest over the last 6 months. It is because of you all that we can claim this small victory over a lockback regime for nearly seven months. So once again, thanks from the bottom of my heart.

I have received your last 3 letters and I appreciate the continuous contact and newsletters. I haven’t  had any stamps, so that’s why it has taken me so long to respond back. But here I am, still as faithful and strong advocate/ participant of IOA. Continue reading

‘Even the mail process is fucked up’

Hi, I want to talk about the mail situation. I have been an inmate at Durham County Jail since Nov. — 2013. It is now Oct. 3, 2014. On a murder charge. With that being said, the only things I have to look forward to during the week is mail and visits. By me receiving mail for going 11 months now, I should know how long it takes mail to be received on both ends depending on the location. So my girlfriend tells me she put a letter for me in the mailbox in the morning before she went to school. Now, like I said by me receiving mail for 11 months I know that if someone has sent me a letter from a Durham County location it will only take a day to get here. So the next day the mail lady (Ms. Walker) comes in and passes out mail but I don’t hear my name called. So I’m like I might get it tomorrow. The next day the same thing happens. So I get on the phone and call my girlfriend to make sure she sent it. She tells me she is positive she put it in the mailbox and she tells me just to wait. So like 3 more days pass and I still have not gotten my mail. I ask the mail lady what is going on and she just says it’s not her fault. So I put in a grievance and talk to the Sergeant (Bradshaw) and guess what. He went right to the mail room and picks my mail up. Now it shouldn’t take all that just to get a letter. That says a lot about this jail. Even the mail process is fucked up.
– L.A.

‘Saying Hi to the people we love’

Hi, I just received your letter about 2 days ago and I want to thank you all for giving me someone I can vent to. OK, so check this out. On 9/2/14 I was written up in pod — by officer Johnson for Charges A1, A5, B4, B14, and C16. So here’s what happened. My aunt’s boyfriend was in the visitation booth, at the time I had just seen my Aunt for the first time since I was 3 years old, so they called me to the V.I. booth. I didn’t go in. I just put my head in the door to say Hi. Now the officer tells me to lock back due to lock back time. I say “alright just let me say I love you to my aunt.” He says “no lock back now before I put paperwork on you.” So as I walking to my cell I tell him to “calm down you about to go home in an hour.” So I get in the cell and as I’m closing the door I hear him say “It’s over for you.” About 20 minutes later the Sgt comes to my cell with a write up. I tried talkin’ to him and officer Johnson but they still wrote me up. Now my question is did I really have to get 25 days disciplinary lock back for telling my family I love them—cause I do have a family even tho I’m in jail—and for speaking up for something that the Officer could have let ride. That just shows you how much these people care for us inmates.

I have been here 11 months on a murder charge and I am looking at 11 years (only because I’m 17). I feel as if even tho that was not my visit I still should have been able to say “Hi and I love you” to my Aunt. Do they think just because we are locked up we don’t have people we love or that love us?


Sergeant: ‘Sometimes you got to keep these young cats in order’

The following letter comes from a juvenile prisoner. To say the least, it reflects a culture of violence and an air of invincibility on the part of jail staff.


This is E.D. If I’m not mistaken you (all) protest in front of D.C.J. sometimes. I understand jail is a place where no one likes. 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