Banned letter: ‘contains gang references’

We received the following notice last week, along with the returned letter that the inmate was not allowed to receive. The reason given for its return was the vague, not helpful, arbitrary, and awful phrase “contains gang references.” Never mind the fact that we don’t know what they’re referring to (the mail room censor didn’t bother to cite specifics of the letter). Regardless, we must register our opposition to this as a reason, and we reject the entire climate of anti-gang measures taken by the jail, the cops and others. Just like gang injunctions that bar people suspected of being in gangs from participating in certain activities, this expansive censorship uses the bogeyman word “gang” to stop communication between two people whom jail staff don’t want communicating with each other. It uses that word “gang” to try to gain support for its evil deeds and dirty tricks, counting on law enforcement propaganda to make the public believe that “gangs” (however loosely defined) are violent and bad and a social menace.

So, there it is: Inside-Outside Alliance has been deemed a gang by the mail room at the Durham jail.




‘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

‘They use violence to subdue us but we wrong for using violence back’

The following letters came to us late last week.

Here is Genapher’s note of explanation: The one letter was mailed out on 11/9 and returned to me 12/22. The other letter was mailed out on 11/25 and was returned back to me 12/22. They say the address was wrong when I know it was right. Hope y’all had a good Christmas. Please don’t give up protesting. Continue reading

‘Officers who beat me got fired’

Dear Inside-Outside Alliance,

Hey, I am doing fine. Mad a little bit. So just to update y’all, so they fired Officer Smith and Officer Alston. Yes, please share my story on everything, newsletters and website. I’m not in the hole no more, but still locked back. Thanks for y’all support and love. I really do appreciate it. Continue reading

‘Inside I’m a lion!’

Hey —,

How are things? I am well, the move (from pod to pod) was rough, but I’ll survive. I’m sorry I haven’t written sooner, I was wondering when you guys would receive that letter (sent in September, received a month later).

I want to say thank you to everyone for this campaign and applaud them for their persistence. (Thank you I say {with much emotion} for caring for me, and us–Thank you.) How great a battle we all are fighting, how sweet a victory. Strange how there is no notice or official statements from our Jailer. Our hours out are 9 am-12:45 and 4pm-6:45. It is a very sweet victory but only for one battle. Continue reading

‘That could mean someone dying’

Dear —

Thanks for writing. Yeah today is October 15 and I just got a letter that my daughter wrote in September. I thought my kids had forgotten me. I have a new granddaughter born in July. I am proud of that and can’t wait to see her. So I guess there are a lot of people on our side out there. We’re so thankful to you and others for taking your time for us. I don’t know how long I’ll be here but I am very very ready to go. I have 6 kids they deserve a father. I pray everyday and night that things will get better here. Some of the officers talk to us like we are dogs. We all pay for one person’s behavior sometimes. One thing I would like to see fixed is if we hit our intercom button some officers ignore it. Also, if you are someone like me who has seizures and asthma, they don’t even know what cell the call is coming from. That could mean someone dying. That’s not right. The food here sucks, but nothing we can do about nothing. And sometimes we have to beg for toilet paper. Well, thanks.


‘How many Mike Browns will it take?’

the following letter was postmarked three times: Sept 9, Sept. 23, and one other time (illegible). 

Hey —,

What’s been up? I hope you’re doing good. I’m very motivated by your perspective and outlook. I’m very thankful to you and all those involved, each one of you who don’t just show concern but carry the burden. Thank you for placing yourselves in our shoes. As I read over your letters I see so much but I don’t know where to start. Continue reading

‘They trying to play me with a plea’

Hey —,

How are you? I hope you doing good. It was great to hear from you, as it is good to hear from anyone outside. How did part of my letter get ripped in the mail? Did the jail do it? Yeah, I was going to take a plea, but they trying to play me, so I’m going to trial. But I don’t know when. They took my shoes on July 6, but gave no reason why. I would like to thank you for taking time out to write. I like the Inside-Outside News a lot. I just want you to know what y’all are doing is noticed. People are watching the movement even if you don’t know about it.

It’s crazy how I cry at night just looking at (a photo) of my son and family…Write me back. See you next time.


‘I didn’t give up’

I just got your letter today on 9-17-15 but your letter was sent out on 8-26-15. I am sending you part of the envelope so that you can see when you sent it out and when I received it.

First of all, I want to thank you and everyone else for what you all are doing for us in here. Continue reading

‘Less complaining and more rebel energy needed’

Ah, my buddy. Man, I ain’t forget about your ass man. This jail sent my letter back on some humbug shit. But I’ll give you evidence–I know how ya’ll like to do. (envelope “insufficient address” had correct p.o. box)

Anyway, in this past week i’ve seen the c.o.s beat two people up. An old man around his late 50s, and a young kid who I grew up with (17 years old). I’ve tried to get them to try me–they won’t fall for it. You see I’m very outspoken they gave me a new nickname: loudmouth, how you like that?

I’ve cussed them out, threatened them, they still won’t attempt to put their hands on me. They’re cowards. You see — I’m a little buff to be 17, well might as well say 18, my birthday is –. …

I want some feedback on what you think about this other letter I’m sending to you, don’t half-ass one page me neither. Oh yeah, so unthoughtful of me, thank you for my 5 min of fame, but please —, say my real name. I want them to know it’s me, fuck da police (I’ve seen y’all sign–lol) Oh yeah, nice touch with the feedback, man. But it needs less complaining and more rebel energy to show them we won’t fold until victory is bestowed. Aye I go to trial in —. It would be cool if you stop by, huh? Well, hit me back. –The poet, Daquan Coleman