The following letter is from a state inmate who was serving time in Durham jail until he suffered a major hip injury in an altercation with other inmates.
Got your letter, thanks. I also got a letter from — that’s part of IOA. He liked something I said. It made me happy. It is a true blessing to have found like-minded folks out there. It was strange for years, I was like, “Are y’all reading this shit?” All my friends like to drink. It has destroyed my life. They maintain. They agree, but it is hard when you are fear stricken. Where I lived with my buddy for years in Durham on Vickers Ave, walking distance to the jail in 10 min. Anyway, we got tickets for having a beer on the sidewalk while we were working on a broken truck. Continue reading →
What’s good man? My fault for writing back late. Just had a lot on my mind lately. I’ve been fine since I been in here, met a lot of cool people (believe it or not) but overall fine. Personally I like the switch to 8 hours a day, cause it makes my time go by faster. To be honest, screw the detention officers, as long as they don’t put they hands on me I’m fine. I kept looking at your letter on my desk like damn I should write back, it came to me one night, I was blessed for you to write me so I should return the favor. Continue reading →
Anthony McInnis here, sounding an alarm loud enough to reach all tax paying citizens of Durham and remaining counties. In 2013, I was booked into Durham County Detention Center on a case that should have been a misdemeanor. Due to my consistent stance to refuse plea offers for active time and an inability to post bond, I remained in jail for eleven months. In N. Carolina, the accumulation of a criminal background basically guarantees you a prison term, partly because you’re sick of having to endure such a dehumanizing experience, but mainly because we usually can’t afford a paid lawyer
The whole community needs to know that: Durham County inmates spend almost eighteen hours a day in cells that remain cold year round. Two inmates often share a cell designed for only one man. Meals by Aramark are almost inhumane with no fruit and processed meat patties. Dinner consists of two sandwiches (thin) and an excuse for dessert. It is served at four pm and breakfast does not arrive until six am (13 hours!). Meals are served on trays and lids that are completely outdated and contain dishwater from weeks earlier. Inmates load these trays each day assembly-line style and carry out all the duties of the food service process. They do not earn money nor does any other man on jail work detail.
Now let us consider the following points:
N. Carolina acquires over 85% of its court convictions from those who accept plea offers.
Today, significant numbers of young Black males are populating the jail, particularly 16, 17, and 18 year olds.
No other group has been affected by American criminal justice like the Black community.
At least 80% of the incarcerated in the state are Black males.
It is simply impossible to justify the mass incarceration of over 2.1 million people in America, the vast majority of them Blacks who represent only 12% of the total population.
The writer gets at something to live by: If you’re not fighting for total freedom, you might as well go to the beach.
I was trippin’ in that last letter. Maybe one day I’ll get out and live near the beach like I always wanted. I appreciate our correspondence. Thank God for people like you who actually care and help rights and freedoms to be possible. I would definitely fight hard for that. I am no longer Christian but part of me still thinks there’s something like a god. I definitely appreciate all the printed out stuff–way cool of you. I wish you the best luck in all your endeavors.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Yes, I also had failure to pay (probation fees). How can I pay probation when I make only $116-$125 a week? Rent alone is $110-$125 a week. How can I also buy food? My food stamps got cut off when I started to work. Continue reading →
The more cuts made to mental health services, the more harm is done, and the more folks end up locked up.
I hope you are well…
Man, me and all the mentally ill are lower than animals to society. I’m reading a book called Street Crazy by Stephen B. Seager it’s really opening my eyes. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Man, this world is cruel. What happened with Derek Walker is so unnecessary. They should fire that cop.
I read somewhere (former NC Gov.) Beverly Perdue was making half a million a year. Lol. Thanks for ‘natural life’ being the new life sentence. Anyway, I know change starts by helping each other out. My case could’ve been avoided if (I could have gotten some help). ..
I hate that in 1483 or around that time Pope Innocent VIII had these two professors find out the cause to mental illness. They said ‘it’s the devil and mentally ill folk are the devil,’ so the Pope sanctioned a murderous frenzy of the mentally ill. The Egyptians and Greeks had it right with their rationalism and great pity on the sick but plagues caused people to turn from that and to a murderous religion. Anyway, all this aint new. We are very stupid creatures.
Prisoners are not only concerned with their own situations or their own struggles. It may or may not be significant to note that the writer is facing a murder charge and is not African-American. Still, he has no mercy for the wannabe cop and murderer of Trayvon Martin.
I hope you and yours are well and strong in the struggle. I haven’t written in a while, there’s really nothing new. You hear about that George Zimmerman guy? He’s in custody again for some violence against his wife. They should have fried his ass the first time.
I thank God for faith and for giving me a second chance to be alive 5th chance actually even though it may not be how I want to live. I’m ready to get real exercise besides basketball everyday. I want to start back playing guitar again too. Anyway, keep doing what you do, you da man.