Call In to Protect Visitation Rights at Durham County Jail on Monday, February 27th.

wralinsideoutThe Inside-Outside Alliance in Durham is a local organization that “is primarily focused on supporting prisoners in the Durham County jail and on fighting police terrorism throughout the city.”  This post is to encourage readers to join in their campaign to prevent the revocation of in-person visitation rights from families with members locked up in what they recently referred to as “The plantation on Magnum Street.”  I have worked with students directly impacted by the conditions at the county jail and am thinking of them as I ask you to please consider the following:

“The Durham County Sheriff’s Department is planning to end in-person visitation at the Durham County Jail this summer and replace it with glorified phone calls. We know this decision isn’t made out of concern for Durham families with loved ones on the inside — in reality, it is a callous money grab written into the Durham County’s contract with the telecommunications corporation GlobalTel. The Durham County Commissioners can put pressure on the Sheriff to keep visitation as is. Call and email them next Monday, February 27, to make sure jail visitation is on the agenda of their March 13th meeting. Our voices will be heard!

Wendy Jacobs: (919) 418-3169
James Hill: (919) 536-8820
Brenda Howerton: (919) 544-4160
Heidi Carter: (919) 225-4268
Ellen Reckhow: (919) 383-3883

My name is _________________. I’m calling/emailing to ask that the County Commissioners place the Durham Jail’s decision to end jail visitation on the agenda for their 7pm regular session on March 13th. Many people in the community have expressed how the Sheriff’s Department’s elimination of visitation will hurt folks on the inside and their families. The community should have a say in a decision that would negatively impact so many Durham residents. We demand that you include jail visitation on the agenda for the March 13th session and allow for public comment. Thank you.”

The second link in the first paragraph of this post contains a more in detail analysis of the situation if you’d like to read more.  This is one excerpt, criticizing one set of recommendations of reforms for the DCJ:

“What the HRC recommendations (and other liberal reformist approaches) lack is an understanding of the jail – and the whole prison system – as an instrument of class war, and specifically class war on the color line (where class wars are always fought in America).  Swapping out one set of corporations for another to “provide services” in the jail, switching cash bail for some other form of control, and providing “transparency” by making the jail a place to give tours will not break, nor even loosen, the chains that bind our comrades currently locked up on Mangum.  In this sense, they are part of the same pattern as the move to video visitation, which is a function of the Sheriff’s unchecked power and commitment to profiting off of prisoners, which the recommendations fundamentally do not challenge.  We must seize the opportunity offered by these recommendations to bring a critical, abolitionist agenda to Durham County: the abolition of bail and all alternative forms of conditional pre-trial release, the removal of private corporations and their bottom lines from the jail, funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment through communities rather than through the jail, and the complete severing of all law enforcement ties with ICE.”


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