Inmate Guide

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Durham County Jail Inmates

Durham County Jail holds twelve blocks in its facilities. These blocks are called pods. Once inside the pods a majority of inmates never leave their pods with only a few exceptions. The only exceptions include work detail and work release.

Pod time
Every part of jail life in Durham County takes place in the pods. Inmates are brought meals in their pods, showers are provided in the pods, and all other pastime activities take place in the pods. Pods are lettered alphabetically. Inmates are separated into different pods based on violent or non-violent offenses. There are also separate pods for those inmates on work release, and another pod is rented by the state to hold extra inmates from the state prison as it is overcrowded.

Leisure activities
Every pod has two cell levels that lie around a single common area in the middle. The common area provides plastic tables and chairs for meal times and card games. These leisure activities include playing cards, reading books, sleeping, and watching television in the common area. Some inmates choose to exercise in their free time, which usually includes sit ups and pushups.

Time outside and church services
Unlike many other jailing facilities, Durham County allows its inmates outside once a day into an enclosed courtyard attached to each pod. Church services are offered but are not scheduled. When they do take place it is in another room attached to the pods.

Good behavior policy
Because many inmates decide to cause trouble, Durham County does not give time off for good behavior unless it is absolutely necessary. Other privileges are given, however, through work detail and work release, which allows inmates to leave the facilities for a few hours each day.

Jail clothing
The duration of every inmate's stay is spent wearing a jail uniform. In Durham County's case they resemble hospital scrubs and come in bright orange. Inmates are allowed outside undergarments and socks if desired.

Phone policy
Access to outside of jail is somewhat limited. Inmates do have regular phone access, but all calls are to be made collect, which makes it expensive.

Visiting jail
Visitation privileges vary from inmate to inmate. Some have access to visitations every day while others only have access once a month. Visitors endure a long waiting process before seeing inmates. Visiting takes place in a visiting room attached to each pod where visitors are outside the pod and communicate with inmates through glass windows.

Meals and medicatino policies
Like everything else, three meals are served each day in inmate pods. These meals are often rated low and habitually consist of potatoes and grits. No other foods are offered in between meals. Medications are distributed on a regular basis. A member of the medical staff provides them to each pod. Those charged with drug abuse while incarcerated cause their entire pod to be placed in lockdown. In lockdown no one is let out of his or her cell, and all inmates are searched.

Former inmate recommendations
Fights often arise in Durham County so former inmates recommend keeping to the self, obeying the guards, trying to be friendly, staying away from drugs, and avoiding trouble. This task is easy for some, even more, but very difficult for the few.