‘I refuse to let them break me’

Hello,

How are you doing? Sorry about writing you all back so late, I’ve just been going through a lot. But I’m doing a lot better now, so you will be hearing from me more often. I hope this letter gets to you quickly and finds you in good spirits and health. How is life on the outside for you? Things have been up and down for me, but I stay praying and strong. I refuse to let them break me or let them make me fold. But I can tell you this: they sure is trying their best. Continue reading

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Mental health nightmare

Many times the call for help is sitting right in front of you. But can it be heard while we sit behind these narrow walls? When you arrive, medical asks if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others. If you say no, it’s brushed off and never brought up again. The mental health staff are thorough here, but only if you have a pre-existing psychiatric history! Continue reading

‘They won’t let me out the hole’

1-4-17

Hello,

I thank you for your letter and I appreciate your concern about us here. How have you been? Me I been doing good. I’m sorry for taking so long to write back, I just been gettin things together for trial in March. I want the Inside-Outside Alliance and the news people at my trial so everybody can see how court doing in Durham County. I been here going on 3 years. This jail is some bullshit and the court system, too. The D.A. trying to give me 26 to 34 years. That’s crazy. I haven’t even seen 20. I’m only 18, about to be 19…And the jail they got me in the hole for 50 days now, and they won’t let me out the hole. Thank you for the card. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.  –S.B.

‘They should do away with these high-ass bonds…’

Jan 4 2017

IOA

What’s up? Thanks for the holiday card. Your reader’s poll made me think a lil bit because doing away with bail could do some good, but at the same time hurt. It can help those who can’t afford to bail out of jail for whatever reason. You also got those people that has stupid crazy bonds set by the court that can’t be touched at all, so they’re put in a situation where they have to sit in jail against their will. But then you do have those complete assholes who would take something as good as that and throw it away, so I guess I would say getting rid of bail is crazy but strongly do think they should do away with these high-ass bonds, like the average motherfucka is living like Donald Trump….other than that, ain’t nothing changed in this shithole but the fact I’m currently trying to fight to get off 22 and a half hour lockback after a year plus and they’re pissing in the wind. It’s easy for them to blow it off because they get to go home at the end of the day. I’m left in a box all day for what??? Really don’t know how much more of this bullshit I can take.

-Ghost

‘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

‘We got to drink out the sink at night like dogs’

Hello,

How are you? I hope you’re doing good. I know it’s been a little while since the last time I wrote you and I’m sorry about that!! I hope you get this letter as soon as possible.

Lately the food has got better since the new company. The things I don’t like is how they took away our sweet bread and blueberry bread, and how they keep feeding us potatoes. But I believe that now we are eating real food. Aramark is still running canteen, but I think it’s only until the end of the year or January. But before they stopped doing the food, man, the food was bad and to me it seemed like they was cutting costs even more. But you best believe I’m going to hold their feet to the fire on this one. Thank you guys because this couldn’t have happened without y’all help.  Continue reading

‘They always cry it’s a security concern when they don’t want to change for the better’

Hey J & S,

I hope y’all don’t mind me responding to you both in a single letter. I have just completed putting final touches on a petition for Writ of Mandamus to be mailed to Durham District Court in the AM. Trying to level the playing field keeps me wide open in here!

I can hardly wait to get out of this awful place. I am 65 years young. There is much work to do in the realm of jurisprudence for the offenders and the courts to get the playing field leveled and reduce crime.

I am going to seek a Soros Justice Fellowship when I get out to conduct a study in Durham, Wake, Guilford, and Mecklenburg jails and courts to see just how effective their court appointed lawyer system is and how justice is meted out in these courts. I’d like to compare the plea deals offered by those various DAs for similar offenses committed in those 4 counties. If I get a justice fellowship, I could then hire a small staff and have other non-profit agencies help me to extend this study to all 100 counties.

The courts need someone — a serious watchdog — looking over their shoulders, as District Attorneys. Continue reading