‘We want respect’

I don’t know what it is about your mail, but the stamp went through Raleigh on June 2 and they say they did not receive here until June 8. That is a lot of days to come from Raleigh to Durham. Right! But it seems there is always something going on with the mail, not getting picked up or brought in on time. You complain and then you don’t get it at all, and how would you know if it came? Or, it’s like you said they say you can’t have it for some reason.

I am with you and others that snacks and hot trays are too high, but the people feeding us are making sure that we eating just so you have to buy the snacks to get by and the hot tray if you want a taste of home, well the outside anyway. The cost of the food they sell in the jail is way too high and needs to go down. Continue reading

‘Something gotta give’

Thursday 6/9/16

Hey —

What’s going on? How are you doing? Fine I hope and all is good and well with you and IOA family and supporters. As for myself, I’m okay, I guess being that I’m still breathing. I want to apologize for not responding to your letters sooner, but I’ve been going through some things. Things that probably 95%, if not 100% of us Durham County Jail Detainees are going through that involves the court system. Things like:

  1. Being held under outrageous bonds (ransoms).
  2.  Not hearing/seeing attorneys for months at a time.
  3. Being held for bogus charges (He say/she say/word of mouth).

Continue reading

Response to the Sheriff from the First 5 Grieving Committee

[The following is a response from the First 5 Grieving Committee to the Sheriff’s reply to their list of grievances.]

May 16, 2016

To: Office of the Sheriff.

Greetings to all the Sheriff officials:

I am president and founder of the 1st 5 Grieving Committee of the Durham Co. Jail. We offer our love, hope and understanding to all who read this response. First, I like to thank the Sheriff Department for responding to our grievances!! That shows a great deal of concern on your part; again we want to thank you, keep up the good work.


As you know one of our traditions is to never disrespect an officer; we are a non-violent organization; know that we are proud of you for understanding that. However, we want you to understand we are about change and we seek to have a better work space for the working staff and a better living facility for the inmates. We feel that there is no reason why we can’t come together for this common cause. We feel that we are all on the right track. We also need the staff to know how bad we need to be heard. It’s so sad that we have to tell you that there is some serious issues here that is unbearable for our living quarters.


Again, here are some of them: over excessive bonds that adds up to be billions of dollars; corrupt cops and magistrates that works together to hold us against our will. Unjust habitual felon charges. We want an official investigation; we want the eye-witness news to be notified and we want our family and friends to be aware of what goes on in here, and we will not stop until we do, because we have enough evidence to prove all the facts.


Response to the Sheriff’s Reply:


(1) Our 9:00pm-10:45pm recreation time has not been restored yet. Our dorms (5A, 5C, 5D, 4A, 4C, 4D, 3D) are not administratively segregated dorms. These dorms are regular population dorms in which our 9:00pm-10:45pm recreation time have not been restored as of yet. Some of us can only reach our kin folk on the phone from 9:00pm-10:45pm, but since we don’t have that time restored, we never can reach our loved ones by phone.


(2) High Bonds: I think that since the magistrate office is a part of the Jail Building and magistrate office is housed in the jail, you should take part in trying to change the high bond issue by contacting the right people for us or with us.


(3) Religious Program: Our Gospel music program show is banned for us to watch it. It comes on Sunday morning from 9am-10am. The jail administration has blocked the B.E.T. Channel from coming on. Our Gospel music program come on the B.E.T. Channel every Sunday. We should not be deprived of our Christian program. They blocked the channel (Bobby Jones Gospel Show).


(4) Law Library: The inmates that is not representing themselves is not allowed to check out the law books for a period of time. They only can read them for 20 minutes a week. We should be allowed to check out the law books, so we can have time enough to read and study them.


(5) Education Program: The EDUCATIONAL initiative should be aimed at all offenders in this jail because most inmates here are repeated offenders. I think that the program would stop the revolving door of recidivism when it targets both young and old offenders.


(6) MATTRESSES: Even though some mattresses are replaced by the color blue, still there are old green mattresses that need to be replaced also.


(7) Laundry: There should be a separate day to wash the white clothes because washing the colored clothes with the white clothes makes the white clothes not as clean as they should.


(8) Health Care: The fee for non-emergency visits of $20.00 each visit and the lack of screening new inmates that comes in this jail should be a concern of the Sheriff department as well since the medical department is also housed on the 2nd floor of the jail.
(9) Spousal Contact: If two inmates are married to each other, we feel they should get a visit from their spouse while locked up. The married couple are different than just regular unmarried inmates. Married inmates should have the privilege to see each other at least once or twice a month.


-Emanuel Lennon

‘They try to punish you for little things…’

April 21, 2016 (received May 19)

Dear —

I’m doing good, keeping my head high. I’m ready to go home, this ain’t no place for anybody, they treat us like animals and talk to us any type of way. They crazy how they let that wonderful man (Matthew McCain) die. They don’t want to be doing they job.  Continue reading

‘Everything associated with this jail is a mind battle’

Hey! What’s going on?

I don’t know if you have paid close attention to my letter I wrote about me being an analyst…it was even posted in this month’s feedback under “Point Blank Period” in association with the inside information about Brother McCain’s death and the severe head injury he experienced. I mentioned how the Durham County Jail’s staff would meet the demands being made but also unequivocally cause conflict in the meeting of these demands to continue an uproar in the jail, because its result would boil down to what’s more important. Continue reading

Con un hispano, se portan más racistas/With a hispanic person, they act even more racist

*English translation below*

Hola ________

Soy L.L.L. y quiero dar gracias a dios y a ustedes y a ti que se preocupan por nosotros los presos, no tengo mucho que contar a cerca de Mateo (Matthew McCain), pero para mi crea que fue una negligencia medica su muerte ya quel día anterior el se quejó que ya se sentía mal y no lo atendieron. Tambien estava laqueado porque no salia junto con nosotros.

Referiendonos al trato, para nosotros aqui si no tenemos dinero en nuestra cuenta, no nos atienden rapido, ya que nose cobran 20 dolares. Bueno apenas paso un caso de un hispano que se sentia mal su boca se le estava llendo de lado, y no lo atendian. Ya que por el ingles pero otra persona X le ayudó a excribir en ingles en la computadora la verda no se sabe que escribio la persona X. Porque rapido lo llevaron al medico. Pero lo raro fue que cuando regresó , lo movieron de piso y no se sabe que paso con el. Bueno con respeto a los guardias a veces no nos quieren dar papel hijenico o champu que dan aqui.

Con uno hispano se portan más racistas, y con respeto a la comida, yo desgraciadamente llevo un año aqui y todas las tardes lo unico que nos dan son pan con jamón y bueno ya que uno no tiene familia aqui, que le pongan a uno dinero. A veces los amigos se acuerdan de uno, pero con respeto a la cantina, o a la tienda que vende comidas o articulos que uno necesita, como javon, pasta, sopas’ están demasiado elevados los precios por ejemplo, una tarjeta telefonica e 20 dolares la venden en 27 dolares y cada sopa 89 cent. Bueno, yo para llamar a un amigo en Raleigh, me cobran 8 dolares 10 minutos, es mucho, mucho dinero, espero y le ayude o nos ayude la información gracias y dios los vendiga a ti y al grupo. …. y aqui le pongo 2 anillos de regalo.


rings for amplify voices

HI _________

I am L.L.L. and I want to thank God and y’all and you for caring about us prisoners, I don’t have much to tell about Mateo (Matthew McCain), but for me I think his death was medical neglect because he already felt bad the day before, and he said that he felt sick y and they did not treat him. Also, he was locked back because he did not leave his cell with us.

In reference to the treatment, for us here, if we don’t have money in our accounts, they do not treat us quickly, it already costs us 20 dollars. Also, there was just a case of a hispanic man who was sick, his mouth was going off to the side, and they did not treat him, could be because of english, but another persona X helped him write in english on the computer and the truth is, I don’t know what person X wrote, because they took him to medical quick.  The weird thing is that when he came back they moved him to a different floor and I don’t know what happened with him. But in regards to the guards, they don’t want to give us toilet paper or the shampoo they give here.

With a hispanic person, they act even more racist. And with respect to the food, unfortunately I have been here for a year and every afternoon the only thing they give us is bread and ham, and if you don’t have family here to put some money on your account, sometimes your friends remember you, but in regards to the canteen or the shop that sells food or things you need like soap, noodles, soup- the prices are too high, for example each 20 dollar telephone card they sell for 27 dollars and each soup is 89 cent. For me, to call a friend in Raleigh it costs me 8 dollars for 10 minutes, that is a lot, a lot of money. I hope this information helps y’all, thank you and god bless you and the group…. and here I put 2 rings as a present.


‘IOA: Fight til you can’t fight no more’

Greetings to IOA,

Content!…This is the first word of this letter I insist on stating. I’m Christian and a firm believer of being content. I received your first letter and my apologies for taking so long to respond. Under my circumstances I have been seriously practicing what I preach to set an example for others around me that complain about everything inside or outside the jail. According to my beliefs which it says in Phillippians 4:11, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” and also Hebrews 13:5-6, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” and because of this I refrained from writing. My God is a God of Love, Justice, Peace, Happiness and everything Good. So on behalf of my Brother through Christ our Savior, in whom I actually grew up with as we went to United Pentecostal Church, which is now First Pentecostal Church located on Carver St., from childhood to adulthood, and God allowing me to be present at his “Homecoming” to Heaven, my condolences to Matthew McCain, but I disclose to those who know or who may not know details about his death. Continue reading

‘Can’t keep writing because I’m low on cash’

Dear IOA,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your time and energy to write me, and also for the “feedback” newsletter. I’m overwhelmed to witness people like yourself and others who still care about us here in Durham County Hell. I’m also passing the newsletter around the pod and I can say that some of the guys are interested and wanted to share their story also. Continue reading

‘Deliver a powerful blow to buckle the oppressor’s knees…’

Dear brother within the struggle!

Don’t beat yourself up, lol. I’ve been fine, your delay of your letters only shows you’re working hard!…

We must look at these deaths within this institution as nothing more than human disregard. NOTHING MORE. You may have already realized this I’m sure of that but the next question is what to do about it, what’s the next plan of action. The total system must take a substantial hit. Continue reading

One letter, multiple voices: ‘They do not listen or care what happens to us…’

the following letter features multiple writers. it was clearly passed from one to another inmate, like a telephone.


My name is Vincent. I am writing to you to inform you of what is going on here at DCJ. I put in a sick call for Blood PSI issues around lunch yesterday, 2-19-16 (11 a.m.) Willburn came to get me at 6 p.m. When I got there the nurse took my vitals. BP was 150/90, pulse was 100 and I informed her the meds I was prescribed was making me sick, for months prior. They refused to give me information on the meds they were giving me which indicate the side effects of these drugs. The nurse then informed me to keep taking the drugs. Continue reading