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
What’s up IOA? Thanks for writing. I’m hanging in there. Can’t really complain, God let me wake up. But as far as DCJ goes, same shit, different toilet. They find a way to make our lives worse by the day. The pod that I’m in has had a problem with our kiosk for damn near a month and the jail has still failed to fix it. Continue reading
What’s up world? I’m so tired of being in here. I’ve been here 20 months, my life is on hold. What happened to staying out until 11:00? My kids don’t even come in at 6:45! Also, what’s up with these “no court date shown?” I can’t get house arrest because I don’t live in Durham. The struggle is real. I haven’t been charged for medical since I have been here, now all of a sudden they want to take my money. Never again will I go unless I’m half-way dead. $20 for some shampoo, really? I like to say at the end of the day they get to go home and we stuck here. Some care and some don’t. Out of sight and out of mind. But our day is coming sooner than later. They can’t hold us forever. Keep y’all head above water. Stay prayed up. God does answer prayers. Be blessed. Shout out to the girls: Melanie B, Brittany L, Ebony F, Christie L.
One year ago today, Matthew McCain died in his cell at the Durham County Detention Facility at the age of 29. Just over a month before his death, Matthew’s daughter, Kinslee, was born while he was in jail. He never met her.
Matthew suffered from diabetes and epilepsy, two serious long-term conditions but certainly ones that can be managed with proper medical care and adequate resources. But competent medical care was never to be found at the Durham jail for Matthew, as is the case for many other people unfortunate enough to be caged there.
In the one year since Matthew’s death, there have been marches, speak-outs, and vigils; there have been balloons and candles, tears and rage. But one thing there has never been is an apology or a public acknowledgment of responsibility for Matthew McCain’s death by anyone connected to the jail, or Correct Care Solutions, the company that profits from providing detainees as little care as possible.
Sheriff Mike Andrews, whose office is responsible for jail operations, never apologized or acknowledged Matthew’s death, either, even as he glad-handed at events attended by Matthew’s girlfriend, Ashley, with Kinslee in tow.
Matthew’s death dramatically affected the lives of many people, including Ashley’s children; his mother; aunts; cousins; and friends, some of whom he got to know inside the jail. Besides the initial report of Matthew’s death that was shared with outside members of Inside-Outside Alliance by a comrade inside, many people on Matthew’s pod shared recollections of him and their own accounts of his death.
See the following: We still place his chair at the table; They do not listen; I feel they may have lied; Officials acted with neglect; There is a rumor going around; Something gotta give; Everything is a mind battle; They try to punish you for little things; Fight til you can’t fight no more
As we joined Matthew’s loved ones to press the sheriff’s office for answers about his death, we were contacted by the daughter of a man, Dennis McMurray, who had died at the jail a year before, and whose death was never made public. This fact made the brave truth-telling of detainees on Matthew’s pod all the more important and integral to the struggle.
The tragedy of Matthew’s death has helped to gain the attention of many who otherwise had not been paying much attention to conditions and treatment in the jail. Recently, the Human Relations Commission of the city of Durham published recommendations about the jail that they will share with the county commissioners and the sheriff’s office.
In the aftermath of Matthew’s death, in the struggle to obtain answers and demand accountability, we published a pamphlet, No More Jail Deaths, No More Jail. As then, we still know the only way to ensure there will be no more horrible, undignified deaths in jail is to get rid of these cages as we transform the world which produces them.
November 25, 2016 marked the day Matthew would have been 30 years old. A week later, his daughter Kinslee, full of life and spark, turned a year old. These birthdays and anniversaries hurt those who loved Matthew and they will continue to be painful. But we take today to say that we have not forgotten Matthew, and we will not forget that the jail killed him. For those who are able to, join us at the jail this evening, January 19, 2017, at 7 pm for a vigil to remember Matthew McCain.
Facebook Event: Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Matthew McCain
the following letter was received more than five weeks after it was written.
Oct 22 2016
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
November 19 marked ten months since Matthew McCain was taken from this earth due to the criminal neglect of staff at the Durham County Detention Facility. Matthew would have been 30 years old next week.
It also marks three years since Jesus “Chuy” Huerta died in the back of a Durham police vehicle. The Durham Police are responsible for his death. Chuy was 17.
We continue to stand with their families and loved ones and mourn their passing, and vow to continue the struggle against the jail and the police.
Chuy Huerta and Matthew McCain, Presente!
Thank you for writing me. I am in court — or that week and thank you for calling my lawyer for me. I am doing fine. I am still in this jail, going like I am in slavery days. We can’t practice our religion freely here. I am a Muslim who can’t have a prayer rug to pray on or have Islamic services here at this jail like the Christian faith have services and we can’t. And medical charge me $20.00 for a sick call about the bites I’m getting from bed bugs that this jail is not doing anything about. I still have staph infection (see attached, from 7.15.16) and medical or staff haven’t given me anything for this matter. I haven’t gotten the new mattress or antibiotic soap. I was given all-in-one shampoo and it don’t have antibiotic soap in it and I still have staph infection right now. Please tell everybody about this!
Sincerely your friend,