The below letter is a response to inmates’ petition of grievance from Chris Wood, State Jail Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services. Regarding the complaint about unsanitary food trays, he says “I can partially substantiate your complaint.” About other complaints, he says “I am unable to find that your complaint is neither substantiated nor unsubstantiated at this time.” (What does this even mean?!?) Also, if you write to us again, “it could be construed as inciting a riot.”
If the local grievance procedure isn’t working — and clearly, given what Amplify Voices Inside has heard from inmates, it is NOT — then what other avenues do inmates have? Furthermore, given lack of access to email and the exorbitant cost of making a phone call from jail, how would it be possible to email or call the DHHS office “if you have questions in the future”?
As usual, official response brings more questions than answers.