‘At times it feels like we are in a hole…’


Dear –

My name is —. I’m currently at Wake Correctional in Raleigh. I’m writing you in response to the article that was in last week’s newspaper. I want to begin by saying thank you to you and the whole Inside-Outside Alliance and to all the organizations and people that are involved with the protest and rallies that you all are doing. And I believe that I speak for the majority of the inmates in prison, if not all, when I say that what you’re doing is so very great. At times it feels like we are in a hole with no way of getting out. With very little contact or help from the world. But it’s groups like yours that give us all a little more hope in life. I want to share a little of my story with you and I’m completely ok with you sharing it with people if you’d like. Since 1999 I’ve been in and out of prison 5 times. And in and out of jail I’m not exactly sure how many times. All because of being on drugs. I was a drug addict of all drugs really. Some more than others. But drug addict none the less. Each prison sentence I was given got longer and longer. I’ve been in since October 2011 now. And I have about 57 more months left before I go home. Each time I’ve been to prison is because of stealing to support my drug habit. Every time I got locked up in jail I would ask for help. To be send to a rehab. I was pretty much accepted to TROSA once. But the judge wouldn’t allow me to go get help. The only treatment I’ve had was a 90 day AND90 program at Burgaw prison in 2006. That program is a joke. A waste of taxpayers’ money. Nobody can begin to get clean in 90 days. Not even in a year. It takes time and help. But the system feels like they are doing something major by having that program. Anyway for the first time in a very long time, I decided to get clean in 2011. And I’ve been clean since. From drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. And I work hard to stay that way. Since the first prison sentence I ever done until now, the wages that are paid to prisoners for jobs are still the same. Very, very little money. And the prices of everything in the canteen have more than tripled on most things, from food to hygiene. The prices for medical have went up. And they charge us taxes on the gift money that our families send us. And I believe that gift money is supposed to be tax free. And on top of that, since we have to pay taxes on items from the canteen we should be allowed to have our families file for those taxes on their income taxes. But we’re not able to. If we get a write up then we are charged $10.00 And they write us up for simple things a lot. Like not having our shirt tails tucked in. For having an extra pair of socks or boxers or pants. We get wrote up for feeding the wild geese and deer. What kind of write up is that? They treat our families like criminal when they come to visit us. And the list goes on and on. There is no reason worth this type of treatment. They put us in the hole for simple things. And for 15 to 100 days depending on the write ups. The federal prisons have ipads for inmates to email their families. And they pay inmates for the work they do. The prison system don’t have any type of real resources to help inmates when they are released. We have to have a way to get to the DMV to get an I.D. And we have to have an I.D. to get a place to stay, cash checks and other things. You are right, prison is a modern day slavery. And the prison is a bad place for people with drug problems. They lock us up off the street from being drug addicts. And with no help to get clean, they throw us in a prison which is full of drugs, that are possibly brought in by the guards or administration…And when we use drugs we fail drug tests, and when we fail drug tests we are written up for failing a drug test, and then put in the hole for a minimum of 30 days. These are just a few of the many problems in prison. One more problem is that there are a lot of prisons like Pender, Sampson, Harnett, etc., that don’t have A/C. And it gets 100 degrees or more in the dorms. The prison won’t put in A/C because we are inmates. But the animal rights activist will have a national standoof/protest if an animal shelter don’t have A/C. So if a dog or a cat has to have A/C then why don’t a human being have that right? Anyway, these are just some things that maybe you’d like to know. And I do hope that you’ll keep up the protests and help that you are giving us. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for all that you do. Be safe and take care!



‘We can’t allow two visits on the admin pod”: no past and no future in the jail lobby

Dear Durham County Jail and Renovo (powered by GTL),

You are not dear to me, actually. What was dear to me is the time I lost, the time of mine you wasted last week at visitation. It is time I will never get back. I know I am not alone in feeling robbed by your staff and your “convenient” scheduling system. Continue reading

‘This is a mean business, a money game’

June 29

Power Comrade –

Hope all is well. As for myself I am in good spirits, considering my current situation. As for my health, I run and do yoga daily so my health is fair. This “capitalist machine” profits off of poverty. We have to teach the comrades in here the law, that’s the “capitalist machine’s” biggest weapon. In order for us to stand up and fight we need law material.  – Power

Unafraid of the consequences

July 1, 3 am

Power Comrade —

The people our youth admire are addicted to drugs. It’s important that we pay attention to the youth because they think these stars, actors and rappers are special. The youth think that these entertainers have something they don’t, and this is not true. Every human has it, we have to re-educate the youth, and help them find their purpose. Continue reading

‘They don’t care about us’

From a friend to a friend


Thanks for the letters. I’ve been doing this time alone so your letters are really, really appreciated. Your time and effort you give up to reach out to me for support and help mean a lot. It’s crazy, cause you sent your last letter May 31st. I just got it like a week and a half ago. Crazy, rite? Anyways, I’ve read the feedback paper you sent and shared it with a couple people. We all are grateful for the things you and the organization does for us. We have four straight hours out a day now, so that’s better than before and you all got something to do with that. I’m in — now. I’ve been here for like two months. Far as visits I really don’t have any and haven’t had none in about 6 months, so if you wanted to come visit I would appreciate it.  Continue reading

Windows to the World

during a friday protest

during a friday protest

the following was written by someone outside the jail.

by J.S.

On any given day, at almost any given time, you might see someone outside of the Durham County jail waving, signaling or otherwise communicating with a person inside the jail. If they happen to be lucky enough to be on their ‘walk,’ the person might be in the large full window at the end of their pod. For the rest of the 20 hours of the day, the person is confined to their room, and the window of communication is a thin, rectangular one that is at the high up in the room. Communication by the people outside is full of love, sadness, information, sometimes anger or regret, but it is almost always spirited and emotional.

And to think, if it were entirely up to the sheriff’s department, the county, and others, this communication wouldn’t happen at all. Yes, deputies do occasionally try to tell people they cannot wave or signal to people inside the jail. But if they tried to entirely stop it, they would spend their time doing nothing else. Continue reading

‘When will enough be enough?’

In last month’s feedback edition (volume 9), a girl by the name of “Dora” wrote in about the conditions of the jail and the injustices against her dad. I know exactly who this man is because I was there when he fell out in visitation! When one of the inmates in the visitation room beat on the window for help—the officer in the pod gave him the finger. The officer only called medical. When the inmate began to beat on the window again, the officer finally “called code” but cussed the inmate out and locked him back. Continue reading

‘We have to put all our clothes on to stay warm’


How is it going? Good I hope. I just want to thank you and Inside-Outside Alliance for allowing me to be a part of it. Everything is going pretty bad in here. It’s very cold temperatures in this jail, mostly in the cell. But I ask the officers can they turn up the heat, but it never get done. We have to put on all of our clothes just to stay warm. And yes, I been seeing some people out there protesting outside of the jail. That’s good to see people helping the people in jail. I feel that the statement is good because I feel that we need to get books sent in from people and 2 we need to get mail from the officers when we ask for it. We do need visitation face-to-face multiple times a week…

Yes, the CO that I am talking about is Coleman. Coleman is disrespectful. I been in — for 2 weeks and Coleman came up here talking shit. I’m just going to keep taking it one day at a time to better my day. But write me back and take care.

T. A.

‘Nothing we can do about it’

From Michael:

I have missed a few visitations because of some officers saying I can’t use my student ID (as valid identification), where the website clearly says you can. These are when I have visitations scheduled, I come in, and they just say, ‘No, you can’t use that.’ It’s been the same two people that won’t let me use it, one of them is a lady named Cater. Continue reading

‘Saying Hi to the people we love’

Hi, I just received your letter about 2 days ago and I want to thank you all for giving me someone I can vent to. OK, so check this out. On 9/2/14 I was written up in pod — by officer Johnson for Charges A1, A5, B4, B14, and C16. So here’s what happened. My aunt’s boyfriend was in the visitation booth, at the time I had just seen my Aunt for the first time since I was 3 years old, so they called me to the V.I. booth. I didn’t go in. I just put my head in the door to say Hi. Now the officer tells me to lock back due to lock back time. I say “alright just let me say I love you to my aunt.” He says “no lock back now before I put paperwork on you.” So as I walking to my cell I tell him to “calm down you about to go home in an hour.” So I get in the cell and as I’m closing the door I hear him say “It’s over for you.” About 20 minutes later the Sgt comes to my cell with a write up. I tried talkin’ to him and officer Johnson but they still wrote me up. Now my question is did I really have to get 25 days disciplinary lock back for telling my family I love them—cause I do have a family even tho I’m in jail—and for speaking up for something that the Officer could have let ride. That just shows you how much these people care for us inmates.

I have been here 11 months on a murder charge and I am looking at 11 years (only because I’m 17). I feel as if even tho that was not my visit I still should have been able to say “Hi and I love you” to my Aunt. Do they think just because we are locked up we don’t have people we love or that love us?