My name is Chrycynthia Ward Davis. my son Kharon T. Davis was charged with capital murder on June 9, 2007 and has been held at the Houston County Jail in Dothan AL, without bond nor has he been to trial. There were two co-defendants Lorenzo Stacy- trial date 2/23/09 – who was acquitted and Kevin McCloud – trial date 2/14/11- who accepted a plea deal for a lesser charge, conditional on him turning states evidence against my son, for which he is now serving a 99 year sentence.
My son Kharon has been subjected to deplorable/wretched living conditions, forced to be on lockdown consistently like an impounded dog since august 2014, under the orders of the jail commander Keith Reed. My son wrote a 10 page letter on May 7, 2013 regarding the psychological intimidation/mistreatment and bullying by some of the jail correctional officers and administrative staff.
The letter was placed in the legal mail addressed to his attorney Derek A. Yarbrough for him and me, his mother/advocate to get the necessary authorities involved in order to raise awareness and to obtain help. The letter was retrieved by correctional officers, and a phone call was placed to attorney Yarbrough by the jail commander stating that he would be going through all of Kharon’s incoming and outgoing legal mail and thus my son’s troubles began with consistent lockdowns to keep him away from family, friends and society. Although, Mr. Yarbrough is fully aware of the mistreatment suffered by my son, he has chosen to only involve himself in the courtroom litigations. When I raised my concerns to Mr. Yarborough He stated to me “I can’t help how Reed runs his jail.”
In my opinion, I feel that an unbiased review by the department of justice needs to be conducted and accountability held to those county officials responsible for not upholding the duties they were elected by the citizens of Houston County to perform. I also feel the Houston County sheriff’s office needs to be held to account for the unchecked abusive behavior and the culture of mental and physical abuse being adopted as the norm in the county jail.
The district attorneys office should be reviewed as well, it is apparent to me that there is a systemic, corrupt, collusion and abuse of power between these public offices. I don’t understand why the lawful procedures that should be adhered to, are blatantly ignored by the Houston County sheriff’s office, county commissioners, and several attorneys when it comes to the custody, care and control of the inmates of Houston County jail.
Your participation in our fund raiser to obtain new representation will be greatly appreciated.
CHRYCYNTHIA WARD DAVIS
Kharon wrote a 10 page letter on May 7th 2013 in which he begins to convey the conditions in which he is incarcerated, along with many other people, and the ways in which their constitutional and civil rights are disregarded. The inhumane and needless brutality and hardships that are imposed on inmates by members of the jail staff and the ways in which the jail staff manipulate the rules to ensure loss of privileges, lengthy spells in solitary confinement, threats and abuse, both physical and mental amounts to persecution. Kharon’s frank and open letter is an appeal for help, and its a short account of the injustices that people are held in at the Houston County Jail. More than that, its a cry for humanity, compassion and justice, not just for himself, but everyone else that finds themselves held in conditions comparative to Nazi Germanys concentration camps, that have no place in modern society.
What follows is Kharon’s transcripted letter in full.
My name is Kharon Torchec Davis. I’m a 28 year old black male. My date of birth is 08-17-84. I’ve been housed here in Houston County Jail for 6 years now. Still in counting and still awaiting a trial date. Over the years I’ve been through alot of mental anguish and hardship, but still I stand. Being very consistent in prayer is the only reason for my stability. Maintaining as a man is not optional, it’s mandatory. Although it’s so much, I would like to elaborate on about my long suffering. There is a soul-purpose. To my letter that holds some major importance… everyday, Houston County Jail is in major violations of our constitutional rights and it needs to be stopped at all costs. I would love to elaborate these major discrepancies to you. I insist!….Houston County Jail has violated many of my constitutional rights here in recent months.
This problem actually dates back to March 1st 2013. An inmate named Joseph Freeman and myself were taken to confinement for being inside the dormatory restroom area at the same time. Mind you, our restroom area is a “doorless cell.” I did my confinement time on cold steel 24 hrs. a day for 20 days due to unsanitary purposes. We are forced to turn in our mats at approx. 4:30 am and we receive them back at 9:00 am. You don’t receive your same mat. Being that there are inmates here in confinement that take on the lifestyle of a “viking” by refusing to shower for days on into weeks, I’ve refused to sleep on those filthy mats.”I happen to be very obsessive in my cleaness, and a well organized young man, as well.” I was released from lockdown approx. 12:00 am, March 20. I tried to get a mat and was quickly denied.
Which resulted in another long night on cold steel, in a non confinement cell. On March 21, 2013, at approx. 2:00am and/or between 4:00am I was brought a mat, without it being inspected. My cell was searched approx. ?? days later by C/O Trawick and C/O Moore. It was a normal search, nothing out of the ordinary until C/O Trawick began to take my blanket and mat cover (sheet) off my mat. C/O Trawick then snatched the entire mat off the rack and started to pry at a small, medium sized hole on the side of the mat – making the small hole extremely bigger.
He then stuck his arm inside the mat and the contents he pulled out were a sheet and some pornographic pages, is all. I was taken to confinement immediately. At my arrival to N-POD (Lockdown Dorm), I was read my disciplinary report. I noticed that an orange bic lighter and ?singulars? had been added to the contents of findings. “These items I never saw.” I was not worried, because I had only been out of confinement for like 9 days and I did not accumulate all this contraband in such short timing. April 8th I was found guilty at my disciplinary hearing. I pleaded my case due to have been given a bad mat that was that was clearly not inspected properly and documented for damages.
Statements were made against my arguments saying that they had indeed inspected my mat because they’re aware of my obsessive cleanness and “They did not want to hear my mouth”…. I was condemned to a total of 75 days confinement. At my disciplinary hearing, I was told by Sgt Kim Turner that I would never sleep on another “fucking” mat as long as I’m in her jail. In disbelief, I returned back to my lockdown cell ( N-10 ). Later I’d been condemned to a 1/2 inch green suicide mat. Of course, I refused the suicide mat because I’m very far from suicidal.
As I mentioned earlier, I do have camera proof that my mat was not at all inspected by Houston County Jail’s personnel. On March 21st 2013, the hallway cameras of Houston County Jail will show inmate “James Kenneth Ward”, which is a laundry room/hallway runner trustee, enter docket aprox between ?:00pm and 4:00 pm, go into the docket property room and retrieve a mat. Inmate Ward then exited docket and will be seen on camera walking down the hall with a mat in hand, straight to the rover station ?? and J Pod’s shift office. Inmate Ward consulted with Rover station C/o’s and then placed the mat by I-Pod outer door on the hallway floor and left.
The cameras will also show C/O Watson enter I-Pod, come to I-1 to check and see if I already had a mat. I did not. C/O Watson then left, and later returned to I-1 with my mat from the hallway. By the way, James Kenneth Ward is my Mother’s brother. He revealed to me the knowledge of these facts. My mat was never inspected, as I argued before these facts were brought to my attention. Houston County Jail Staff gave fabricated statements to condemn me to confinement and rid me of my mat knowing that they were being mendacious from the beginning. All in all, there is a very important moral to my story. I have also been totally discriminated against by Sgt. Kim Turner and Commander Keith Reed of Houston County Jail.
On March 16th, 2013, an inmate by the name of Jason Huckaba (white male) was fined the sum total of $100 dollars by Sqt. Jones of 1st squad, for being in possession of contraband due to the contents being found in a damaged mat. Jason Huckaba was shook down while being housed as trustee status in O-Pod Dormatory. Mr Huckaba was found to have Kool-Aid balls stuffed inside his mat. Mr Huckaba did admit to having the Kool-Aid balls concealed inside the mat, but denied having anything to do with damaging his mat. Truth be told, Mr Huckaba has been wronged in this matter also, Wrongfully fined for a damaged mat and he should undoubtedly be refunded, as well. At “LEAST” 98% of Houston County Jails’ mats are damaged in one way or another.
True Fact! Mr Jason Huckaba was also put in segregated confinement. This is where we meet. Mr Huckaba was never denied a mat now offered a suicide mat, as I had been offered. I have been discriminated against by Houston County Jail. This violates my constitutional rights and I will be most appreciative for any civil rights legal lawsuit assistance “outside” of Houston County’s jurisdiction….this is not all! The Commander of the jail. Mr Keith Reed has continuously forced his hand in violating my constitutional rights, as well. I do not remember the exact date, but I do know a holiday by the name of “Confederate Memorial Day” was celebrated ?by? Houston County Jail, in which mail did not go out that monday because of this.
The next day, Tuesday, I “attempted ” to send a letter to my attorney council sealed up and addressed to Mr. Derek Yarbrough, labeled in bold print as “Legal Mail”, which by law is not to be tampered with due to my constitutional right for lawyer/client privilege of confidentiality. Inside my attorney’s mail, I had enclosed a 5 page letter to the ACLU for my lawyer to give to my mother. Also inside my attempt was an envelope ( additional envelope ) address straight from me. None of it never made it… I just had an attorney visit Friday, May 3rd 2013 from Mr. Derek Yarbrough, and I asked him did he receive my mail.
He told me yes, and it was already opened. He, Mr Yarbrough told me that Commander Reed had phoned him, he (Mr. Reed) had taken my letter to the ACLU out of my legal mail. Commander Keith Reed also sent me a personal threat/request to never attempt to send out jailhouse information again as long as I’m here. He also said I need to be focused on my case. All of a sudden my attorney is ready to prepare for my trial at the force of a few, powerful, authoritative hands of Houston County Courthouse/Jailhouse representatives.
My attorney’s sudden attention did intrigue me, but I am not scared of Houston County Courtroom ?—? games… “If God is for me, who can be against me!” On the 29th of April, I attempted to send a letter to Attorney at Law, Mr. Mark A. Overall. On the 29th of April, my legal mail was returned to me and it had been opened and also read. Someone wrote “Not a Privilege” – you can not seal any legal mail that is not your attorney according to our (H.C.J.) records…So I was forced to send it open. Again, Commander Reed has intentionally continued to raise his own mighty hands above constitutional rights of law. This has to be looked into wholeheartedly and put to and end. Every single day that goes by we are being violated tremendously by Houston County Jail….SUCH AS… being denied our religious preferences.
We are not allowed to have our bibles of any kind inside our confinement cells. We only roll out 1 hour a day to exercise, shower,write letters to family, lawyers. That leaves absolutely no time for praise, worship and meditation. Its built to deprive us from ?ening? strength, guidance and faith in our God. God’s word is the only source we all have for means of mental stability in a place like this. We use to be allowed our bibles in lockdown and they took that right for absolutely no reason at all. We are forced to turn our mats in at approx. 4:30am/5:00am in the morning and we are given our mats at 9:00 pm. That’s a total of 16 hrs. on cold steel and I have bruises on my hips to prove these excruciating pains we endure.
They have been enforcing a rule that states that we are given our mats at 9:00 pm, but we are not allowed to lie on them until 10:00 pm. They literally treat us like animals here. How can you give a human being a mat inside a confinement cell after enduring 16 long hours on cold steel and dare him to lay on it up til another hour. Very cruel and unusual punishment. If found on it before 10:00 pm., results in another write up, which consists of 30 more days of lockdown. Not to mention the lack of feeding portions are totally ridiculous in lockdown and cause you to lose tremendous weight. We are not allowed to clean our lockdown cells with a broom and mop.
We’re forced to sweep, mop, wash walls, clean toilet bowls and our sink with the same cleaning rag, which is very unsanitary. Our dormitory/cell living arrangements are also harsh and hazardous. We are forced to have a third person in a 2 man cell, sleeping on what is called a stack-a-bunk. The third man has to position the stack-a-bunk directly in front of the door in order for it to fit inside the 2 man cell. When we complain to officers and sgt’s and CT’s, we’re told not to interfere with C.T. direct orders or, of course, we’ll be locked down. “If you haven’t noticed, we get locked down for anything and everything” We complain about the stack-a-bunk being a safety hazard.
Our higher authoritor tells us “our safety is not in danger until we are about to die.” The cells are like ?? footsteps in length, and “7 footsteps” in width. It’s hardly enough room for 2 inmates… we are again forced to sweep, mop, wash walls, clean toilet bowls and our sink with the same cleaning rag, which is very unsanitary – all in the same… at 9:00 am we are forced out of our cells and we have to lock the cell doors. We have to sit around on steel and concrete until doors are re-opened at 2:00 pm. We are then locked in our cells until 4:00 pm – during this roll-in time, if you are found to be lying on your rack or underneath your blankets, you will be written up and locked down.
Very cruel! 4:00am we are to ?–? back out of our cells and secure our cell doors until 10:00 am again to accompany steel and concrete. In my past 6 years of incarceration here, well maybe 4 out of 6, I’ve seen a couple young men catch hemroids because of this… surely jail house fights are common. Well what sense does this make? We have cameras in all of the dormatories in HCJ, but if two inmates can’t use their ability to reason and engage in a fist fight, quite naturally the fight is on camera.
Well, a guy by the name of Investigator ?–lier? thinks it’s plausible to lock the entire dorm down for what he calls an “investigation”, which lasts for days. Even while the inmates are put in confinement for 15 days for the fight, they still keep the whole dorm on cell restriction for 15 days, minus the disciplinary report. Houston County Jail loves to abuse their authority daily. In our dorms we are not allowed to watch our local news. We use to be allowed to. We are not allowed radios anymore. We use to be allowed them, too. Music is very important ?–? while being incarcerated. It’s very therapeutic to the mind and also soothing to the soul.
Radios are a ?–? source of media, also. We even use to be allowed to have our cell doors unlock so we can get away from bad vibes and commotion. Now they’ve forced us to deal with stress, frustration, ?anger? and a multitude of feelings amongst each other inside a very, very small dormatory. Which results in fights and we are all punished… They make us watch ridiculous cartoon kiddie shows like Dora the Exlorer, etc. for days. It’s terribly devastating!
*The entire jail is unsanitary. The dorms are filled with rats and roaches. We have even killed snakes before in I-Pod before.
*Our food menu is ridiculous. We have to endure lack of nutrients daily. No ?—?, no fruits, ?-gnt? vegetables, slight milk (only on cereal day) which is maybe once or twice a week. All portions are very poorly served, every meal. We’re entitled to 8oz.portions, we only get 4? ozs. We’re served cold trays every meal, sometimes a breakfast tray may be lukewarm. The food is always more than likely half cooked. Esp.
Bread and cakes. We have a very mundane menu that really needs to be looked into. ?—? the portions! We don’t have a choice of servings, or being served cold ice water. They do not bring ice separately, it’s already mixed in the watered down juice. They use to bring them separately. juice in one jug and ice in the other. We are not a “ice water cooler” in the dormatories just for cold drinking water throughout the long days. We’re forced to drink lukewarm faucet water all day, water you can barely see through. The only source of water is our cell sinks.
Houston County Jail is also inot all kinds of money schemes…”Extortions and price gouging” !
* * * EXTORTION * * *
Houston County Jail charges inmates for state issued products, weekly. We are forced to pay for state tissue $2.00 dollars, and what is called ?—? indigent pack $2.00 additional dollars, which includes 2 envelopes, 4 sheets of all white paper, a 2 oz bottle of body wash/shampoo and a .85 oz (24g) tube of state toothpaste. Every other week indigent inmates are put $4.00 more in debt, and as soon as money is put in their accounts, funds are immediately deducted for past indigent packs.
Due to the amount owed for indigent packs, the inmate will receive absolutely no commisary items. This is another act of extortion…Money orders are no longer accepted in HCJ (they use to be) Now loved ones have to use what is called a kiosk machine. I like to call it the “KILL BOX”. The kiosk machine is found in the lobby for means of adding funds to an inmates accopunt. The county machine taxes family members/loved ones the sum total of $3.75 each time money is added to it. Which makes things even harder on inmates trying to order. Not to mention the tax extortions for the commisary items being purchased.
Due to kiosk, out of $20.00 you only get $16.25. We are even being extorted by medical attention due to Houston County Jail. Proper procedure for a headache today, “right now”, you first have to fill out a request form, turn it in, wait until the next day, “tomorrow”, then you’ll be taken to medical and given two Motrin pills. Now the Motrin cost 50 cents and the visit to medical cost $5.00… Now say you need some doctor’s advice. Just to “TALK” to the P.A. cost $20.00 dollars. If he prescribes you medication, is an additional $10.00 to $20.00 more dollars, plus the additional fee of $5.00 dollars for the visit. Basically, we are charged $5.00 for walking down the hallway. By the way, the ?P.A.’s? name is Mr. Jason Smoak and there is a guy heard of that supposedly works as a doctor, by the name of Dr. Banner. I’ve been here 6 long years and I could not tell you what this guy even looks like.
There is an inmate here by the name of Shantal D. Webster. He had been belittled by being condemned to a paper orange jumpsuit all because his original pair had a rip in them. He first had to pay $20.00 for the ripped set of ornages, and instead of giving inmate Webster another pair he has to wear a paper orange jumpsuit for the remainder of his incarceration at H.C.J. Mr.Webster informed me that every time the paper set of oranges rip, H.C.J. charges him an additional $25.00 dollars… They know if they’re wrong for what they are doing to Mr. Webster because they make him put on real H.C.J. Jumpsuit every time he goes to court. We’re even forced to pay $5.00 for every library book that is not turned in, comes up missing, or damaged, the library books are “donated” by the Red House Book Store, not purchased by H.C.J.
* * * PRICE GOUGING and EXTORTIONS * * *
Even our commissary has major discrepancies, also. Houston County Jail has a contract with Swanson Services for our commissary purposes. Swanson does not have tax on their commissary items nor does Swanson have a 45 business days refund policy. Swanson has a 24 hr. weekday refunding policy. Houston County’s Sgt. Turner has added 9% tax to the commissary’s item sheets prices. For example of extortion, we are forced to pay 75 cents for 1 pack of ramen noodle, which you can get 6 for $1 on the street. 1 pair of boxers cost $4.00 … 1 T-shirt cost $4.00 … 1 thermal set cost $16.00, etc….?–? we order store, and on store day. Certain items don’t come, Sgt. Turner has made her own policy ?–? having inmates wait up to “45 business days” for our refunds.
That’s like almost or more than 3 months. In such extended periods of time Sgt. Kim Turner knows that the memory of an inmate will tend to diminish due to their many stressful problems due to the jail. Sgt. Turner will then keep our funds. Sgt. Turner says it’s not her responsibility to notify any inmate of their funds being replaced. We are to fill out a request to find it. I feel as if it’s only right that we are given receipts from the balance of the kiosk or refunds immediately on arrival … Sgt. Turner even even puts her taxes on the book of stamps ?-? commissary, I have reason to believe … What could Sgt. Turner be doing with the entire jails’ inmates refunds for 45 business days???
* This issue just crossed my mind, but really doesn’t need to be overlooked. Months ago there was an inmate condemned to confinement, his name is Xavier Robinson A.K.A. Chicken Wang”. This nickname had to do with his handicapped arm and hand. Whomever this may concern please address this matter … Mr Robinson was treated horribly in Houston County Jail’s confinement. This inmate was not allowed any material clothing, no jumpsuit, no t-shirt, no boxer shorts, or no socks. He was kept nude 24 -7. He was fed on the floor, every meal. No tray. On his hour roll out time, he would be put in handcuffs and shackles, and escorted to the shower area. In front of all of us inmates in confinement, as well as female guards, Mr. Robinson was escorted in NUDITY.
At night, very cold nights, Mr. Robinson would scream and cry all night long. He would repeatedly say, I’m hungry! I’m cold! He would also repeatedly call for his mother in a very loud and sad crying tone for hours. Remind you, this was around Fall and Winter of 2012. Even months before I ended up in N-Pod and saw these horrible acts I use to hear how the jail had drove Xavier crazy. Mr. Robinson resulted to throwing and ?–ting? defecation. They use to tase Mr. Robinson for ignoring them.
Which is absolutely no reason ?—? all. They fed him so poorly you could see his ribs and spine. Once, a couple of immature inmates ?—? the shower head and stopped up their toilet early one morning in the winter. All the water had been gotten up except for the water in Mr. Robinson’s cell. Mr. Robinson’s feet swelled up because of this. Mr Xavier Robinson was only 18 years old… As of his whereabouts, I do not know. Wherever Mr Xavier Robinson is, my heart and concern goes out to that young man.
We are not allowed to have any knowledge of the personnel’s rules, guidelines and procedures/policy handbook, in which we should be allowed one due to the fact we’re in the custody, care and control of Houston County Jail. Correctional fficers abuse their authority every single day. They curse and disrespect inmates daily. If you curse back, you will be locked down immediately. They are allowed by Sgt’s and Lt’s and Commander Keith Reed to taze you whenever they feel “aggravated” enough. An correctional officer can exercise the unlawful use of a tazer. They are allowed to use a tazer for verbal disrespect, disobeying a direct order and just plain out ignoring them. There are absolutely no stipulations to the use of a tazer gun or mase in Houston County Jail, period.
* There are news crews, health inspectors, food inspectors and all other types of resourceful officials that takes a tour of the jail commander taking his word for every ?thing?. They never enter our dormitories, so therefore their oblivious to all of those facts. I do
not? believe they are allowed to come inside the dorms and indulge in conversations about who ?they? are or what they stand for, in fear of inmates like myself who actually “LIVE” in this ?jail? exposing all discrepancies and imperfections of Houston County Jail, Faithfully !
The only ?–? that has ever came into our dormatory ( I-Pod) besides the bug man is the health inspector. ?__? is the same guy I’ve seen once a year. I do not know his name. I don’t even say anything to him anymore about complaints. Every year he acts like he’s listening as he writes on his pad, and nothing ever changes. I honestly believe he’s paid to keep his mouth closed…
Although it seems like I’ve said so much, I have not said enough. My accusations are only a few out of many. We are against all odds in Houston County Jail. Our constitutional rights holds no importance to this facility at all. Again this has to be stopped at all costs … May I remind you that this is my 2nd attempt at giving you knowledge about Houston County Jail. May it be God’s will this will be my last attempt and it will indeed be successful. I pray that you all take these matters very seriously. May God put it in your hearts to please help us in this matter. This will make my 57th night sleeping without a mat and it is undoubtedly excrutiatingly painful. I really look forward to some civil rights lawsuit assistance here in the very near future. I am most appreciative that you took up the time to read my accusations. May God bestow grace and blassings upon us all. Let’s make a change! For whatever it’s worth,
This is my cry for help
Respectfully, Your client/friend
Mr Kharon T. Davis